Friday, 16 Apr 2021

How teenagers, shared Wi-Fi and working from home could be a business security risk

Teenagers downloading and streaming games and movies at home can be a huge security risk for employees working from home.

A cyber-security expert is warning shared family Wi-Fi can leave businesses with employees working from home vulnerable to cybercrime.

IT expert and managing director of Vertech IT Services, Daniel Watson, said sharing home Wi-Fi with family members is problematic.

“A shared home Wi-Fi network is logically on the same network as the rest of the family. It is not unusual for teenagers to download content, play games or stream live content from dodgy sites like pirated TV platform CouchTuner.

“Dodgy sites are riddled with trojan software, which will use the family Wi-Fi as a stepping stone to affect other devices on the network. It opens a backdoor for data theft and ransomware.”

Watson saidNew Zealand’s latest Covid-19 lockdown is a timely reminder to small and medium businesses that there was still further disruption to come from the pandemic.

He urged businesses to move beyond the casual approach to work-from-home arrangements.

Employees could help by talking to family members.

“Encourage your people to have a conversation with their children and others in the household about what sites are not appropriate and the high risks – not to mention illegality – of accessing pirated content.”

Watson, who is the author of the book “She’ll Be Right (Not!) – a cybersecurity guide for Kiwi business owners”, said business owners needed to think long-term about securing their staff’s homeworking arrangements.

He said cybercriminals see New Zealand as a “soft touch” and having teenagers at home heightened this risk.

“For example, it is not unusual for teenagers in the home to download, stream and play games.

“This can create a backdoor for cybercriminals to access confidential company and customer data.”

Watson’s tips to closing at home security risk

1. Ensure your team’s home PCs are secure

Secure staff buy-in and then finance the installation of good anti-malware on all of your team’s home computers.

2. Where possible segregate networks

Where possible, particularly when it comes to managers and C-Suite executives who have greater access to confidential information, it is worth investing in equipment that protects the network.

If you are able, install an additional router in the home to separate company devices from the home network.

3. Educate your team

Implement a cybersecurity awareness training programme to make staff aware of threats to themselves and the company when working on the home network.

The training programme should cover permissible security arrangements for the home, including company policies and minimum standards.

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