As thousands of new remote workers across America set up their home offices, cybercriminals see fresh opportunity for email phishing attacks.

If you’re one of the 35% of Americans who have transitioned to working from home since COVID-19 entered the country last March, falling victim to a hacking scheme is the last thing you need as you adjust to your new normal.

But hackers are doubling down on their efforts, and succumbing to an impersonation attempt is now a bigger threat than ever.

Impersonation Attempts Are On The Rise

Phishing and other impersonation techniques are examples of social engineering: attempts to manipulate an outcome by influencing people and their behavior. Impersonation attacks, or email spoofing, is a tactic where malicious perpetrators present themselves as a co-worker, client, or business associate, by sending email messages with a forged sender address. Their goal is to mislead the recipient about the origin of the message, so they think it’s from someone they already trust.

Once trust is established, the recipient is tricked to act in some way that benefits the impersonator: often by performing a wire transfer of funds to their account, or asking to provide confidential details like login credentials, door codes, or sensitive company data.

Newer Remote Workers Are At Higher Risk For Impersonation Email Attacks

The sudden wave of newly remote-based workers because of COVID-19 has provided a feeding ground for hungry cybercriminals through email phishing attacks.

Pre-COVID, around 14% of Americans were working from home or a remote location, and while they’ve faced the similar email phishing attacks that new remote workers are experiencing, they’re better equipped to protect themselves from cybercriminals for several reasons:

Primarily, many of those who were already working remotely were in technical roles and had some baseline knowledge of network security and phishing tactics. Even those with non-technical jobs whose organizations had elected to work remotely, effectively had time to train their employees on the specific dangers and to build a secure infrastructure.

There is also the reality that many COVID remote workers are being stretched thinner mentally than ever before.

In contrast, those new to remote work are often working non-technical roles, and many companies that suddenly pivoted to the work style didn’t have the immediate tools, knowledge, and training required to prepare their employees and sufficiently guard their networks and practices.

Additionally, employees not used to working from home are typically eager to demonstrate their productivity, perhaps by quickly replying to emails that might only appear to come from their organization, without effectively vetting the message and its sender.

There is also the reality that many COVID remote workers are being stretched thinner mentally than ever before. Adapting to a different work environment is only one of several new anxieties on top of navigating an unstable economy, avoiding unpredictable disease, and often homeschooling their children. When these stresses compound, it’s easy to lose focus and let their guards down.

Protect Yourself And Your Team

Protect your remote employees from email phishing attacks other solutions can’t catch. Cloudphish uses blockchain technology that integrates directly with your mailbox to instantly verify the source of every email exchanged between the people you trust.

Contact us to set up a free demo.

 

Sources
35% of Americans: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2020/04/10/is-working-from-home-the-future-of-work/