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Employees are using personal devices to access work items

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/jijomathaidesigners)

Remote working, with all its advantages, represents a major cybersecurity weakness, a new report from Trend Micro suggests.

The Head in the Clouds study, based on a poll of more than 13,000 remote workers in 27 countries, claims that many remote workers regularly connect corporate devices to their home networks.

This, on its own, is not too much of a problem. However, many respondents also have other devices connected to the same network, which may not be sufficiently secure.

For example, more than half of respondents said they have IoT devices connected to the network, 10 percent of which are from lesser-known brands. These kinds of devices are likely less secure because firmware is seldom updated and security is often not baked into the product.

Cybercriminals could potentially use these poorly protected devices as stepping stones to move into the home network and, through it, into corporate devices.

Trend Micro also says there’s an additional risk to enterprise networks brought about by BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies. Many employees now use their own personal devices to work at home and then bring them into the office. If these devices happen to be carrying a malware infection, however, it could quickly spread through the corporate network.

“IoT has empowered simple devices with computing and connectivity, but not necessarily adequate security capabilities,” said Bharat Mistry, Principal Security Strategist at Trend Micro.

“They could actually be making hackers’ lives easier by opening backdoors that could compromise corporate networks. This threat is amplified as an age of mass remote work blurs the lines between private and company devices, putting both personal and business data in the firing line."

"Now more than ever, it is important that individuals take responsibility for their cybersecurity and that organizations continue to educate their employees on best practices.”