By Gill Thomas, Community Manager, Global Cyber Alliance
As the world has taken on the “new normal” of working from home, it is worth taking a closer look at how secure we really are.
We can examine how we are faring during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking a subsection of findings from a survey conducted across 5,000 respondents. OneLogin commissioned the survey, and the full report is available to download here.
How many people changed the passwords on their routers within the last month? Of those surveyed, users in the US came out on top with 37% having changed their router passwords — the roll call went: US 37%; Germany 27%; France 22%; and UK 19%. The Global Cyber Alliance’s (GCA) Work From Home campaign does not necessarily advocate changing passwords monthly, but ensuring that you are not operating with the default “out the box” password is really important. That goes for everything — not just routers — because these are often taken from a simple stockpile of passwords which can be guessed with relative ease by average hacker tools. Review our Beyond Simple Passwords Toolbox for help articulating stronger passwords.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA or 2FA):
Companies across the globe are realising the importance of adding additional layers of protection beyond a single password. Multi-factor authentication, whereby the person logging into the account only gains access after a secondary check that proves “you are who you say you are,” provides more security because if the organisation with whom you hold that account is breached, or your password is guessed, it is unlikely that the hacker will be able to gain access to your account. Always ensure passwords are changed immediately after learning of any breach that may have affected you. Of those surveyed, again the US came out on top with 60% of companies enforcing MFA policies, followed by the UK with 50%, Germany with 49%, and France with 48%. Specific help with MFA can be found here.
Working From Home is Here to Stay:
If the survey respondents are representative of the global workforce, remote working may not dissipate as the virus does. In France, 73% of respondents suggested they would be interested in retaining an element of remote working while moving forward within their business life, followed closely by Germany with 66% saying the same; the UK with 60%; and the US with 50%.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to adjust very quickly to extremely strict, untested, and unfamiliar working practices — juggling work, life, business, home, and family pressures within the confines of four walls — and has also affected our social and leisure habits. It’s no wonder that cyber hygiene may not have been high on our list of priorities. But this all plays into the hands of criminals who prey on these scenarios, and the results from the survey suggest that between 23% and 67% of respondents across the different countries have already been breached since working remotely. You can check whether you have been compromised via the Have I Been Pwned? Website, which can be found in the Beyond Simple Passwords Toolbox.
As the impact of the virus continues to take its toll on all of us in different ways, and whilst we begin to realise the longevity of certain changes, let’s ensure cyber hygiene becomes part of the “new normal” for us all.