5 Ways to Defend Against Common Remote Work Scams

For a long time, employees were protected by digital castle walls erected by the IT department around the physical office. But now many of the same employees have transitioned to remote work arrangements. Because of that, they’re like soldiers marching across an open field under constant artillery fire – phishing scams. But just because remote employees are more exposed than their office-bound counterparts doesn’t mean they’re entirely defenseless. There’s a lot that employees and the organizations they work for can do to avoid common remote work scams.  

Main Types of Phishing Scams Targeting Remote Employees

There’s more to phishing scams than princes from Nigeria who have somehow found themselves in urgent need of cash. These are the main types of phishing scams your remote employees are likely to encounter sooner or later:  

  • Phishing 
  • Spear phishing 
  • Smishing 
  • Vishing 
  • Business Email Compromise (BEC) 

5 Ways to Defend Against Common Remote Work Scams

Phishing scams exploit the fact that employees are often the weakest link in the cybersecurity defense chain. Strengthening this link should be the main goal of any protective measures you implement to defend against remote work scams.  

Here are five ways to achieve this goal:

1. Provide Remote Employees With Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Cybercriminals prey on those who are unprepared, so it’s paramount for remote employees to regularly exercise their digital muscles by undergoing cybersecurity awareness training sessions.  

These sessions should help remote employees:  

  • Recognize phishing scams  
  • Report it to the appropriate personnel  
  • Protect sensitive information  
  • Practice safe browsing  
  • Understand the importance of proper password management  

2. Strengthen Your Email Security

Most remote work scams reach workers via email. To make it more difficult for them to do so, you should strengthen your email security by setting up these email standards:  

Sender Policy Framework (SPF)

Outlines which servers and domains are authorized to send emails on behalf of your organization.  

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)

Incorporates a digital signature into each outgoing message, which enables receiving servers to confirm the origin of the message. 

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC)

DMARC is an email authentication protocol that builds upon and uses both SPF and DKIM. It gives instructions to receiving mail servers on how to handle emails claiming to come from your domain that fail SPF or DKIM checks. This includes policies that could tell receiving servers to reject, quarantine, or allow the message through but report the failure back to the sender’s domain. In addition to these email standards, organizations should implement anti-spam and anti-malware filtering for inbound email messages.  

Those who would like to go a step further can take advantage of technologies like Microsoft’s Safe Links, which provides URL scanning and rewriting of inbound email messages.  

3. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication

A common goal of phishing attacks aimed at remote employees is to steal their passwords and use them as keys to protected systems. Multi-factor authentication can be implemented to protect these systems with additional locks. These come in the form of secondary authentication factors, such as: 

  • Codes sent to mobile devices 
  • Hardware OTP (one-time password) tokens 
  • Biometric verification.

By requiring secondary authentication factors, organizations can ensure that even if a phisher is able to steal a password, they will not be able to gain access to protected systems. This reduces the risk of a security incident and the resulting consequences, such as data theft or financial loss.  

4. Enable Call and Text Screening on Mobile Devices

Phishing attacks are not limited to email messages. They can also be performed using voice calls and text messages. That’s why your organization should enable call and text screening on employees’ mobile devices.  

Call and text screening can significantly decrease the number of vishing calls and smishing messages that reach employees. This makes it far less likely for them to fall for such attacks. Some mobile devices support call and text screening natively. However, the functionality can also be added using third-party apps.  

5. Update Your Remote Access and Acceptable Use Policies

If you allow some or all employees to work remotely, you should have a well-thought-out remote access policy. This policy will control who can access the network when working away from the office and under which conditions.  

Example  

Employees should be prohibited from logging in to internal systems from unsecured public Wi-Fi networks. Employees should also be prohibited from using their personal devices for work-related purposes. Or using their work devices for personal purposes without the IT department’s explicit approval – which is where the acceptable use policy comes in.  

Teal Can Help Defend Your Remote Employees Against Scams

Phishing attacks are a major threat to remote employees and can have devastating consequences for organizations large and small. The good news is that there are solutions available that can help defend against common remote work scams like these. And experts at Teal can help you implement them. 

Get the Remote Work Security You Need Today

Teal offers responsive and secure managed IT services to small- and medium-sized businesses nationally, with local IT services provided in: 

Established in 2000, we enrich lives by delivering ultra-responsive services, prioritizing cybersecurity, and investing in our staff.  

Contact us today to take your cybersecurity to the next level.  

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