Cybersecurity in Pajamas: Navigating the Everchanging Quirky Challenges of Remote Work Security | by Arnold Kinney | May, 2024 | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

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Welcome to the wild and crazy world of remote work, where you biggest professional challenge may be keeping your data safer than your snacks from midday raids. As many in the remote world trade office attire for cozy pajamas (yes, I know you are wearing the cozy pajama bottoms and the shirt and tie for the zoom calls) and swap ergo chairs for the kitchen stool before scrambling to the home office, cybersecurity has taken a whole new level of excitement-or zombie virus terror depending how you look at it. Let’s dive into the comedic mishaps and also the essential security practices in the age of telecommuting.

At one time, your biggest concern was whether your work mate would catch you browsing memes during business hours on the work computer. Now the stakes are higher: can you protect your work data while cat parades across your keyboard like the final scene of a Broadway show? I was just in Manhattan last week and this is what came to mind as I saw many people working from their home office in Central Park. But, honestly, as long as the work is done it’s an added benefit. A win-win. However, we have to keep cybersecurity in mind and stay highly organized and productive. Bo, the pet boa constrictor should definitely not be allowed anywhere near the keyboard. Totally out of bounds.

Multi-factor authentication has been less about security and more about whether your toddler will tweet gibberish to your boss while you’re cooking your morning breakfast and making pancakes. And definitely make sure the camera is off when you’re not on those zoom meetings. This is Cybersecurity 101 folks.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are touted by your cybersecurity team as the knight in shining armor for your remote team. They are protecting your data by creating a secure tunnel for your internet traffic. I know, I have built, or dug a few myself, which sounds pretty cool until you realize that tunnel might slow down your connection just enough to freeze your video during the call making your portrait into a digital Mona Lisa frozen with that peculiar smile. Meanwhile, your smart fridge decides to update its software during your presentation, hogging all your bandwidth. Actually, if this download hogs all your bandwidth, this is another issue, another problem to be solved for another day as this simple download should not cause much issue.

Ala, the Zoom call: a magical portal to the world of business casual which means a nice shirt parted with pajama pants. Try this new business casual on your next date to the new happening restaurant in town. He in the jungle, the wild creature (a.k.a. your colleagues) come in various forms-the Mute Oracle who speaks wisdom from the void (remember the void), the Frozen Wanderer (i.e. Mona Lisa) forever frozen in the digital freeze reminiscent of Picasso’s blue period in ancient ages, and the Background Enthusiast who backdrops range from the beach escape to the surface of Mars as if Elon Musk’s space trips have become a reality for the common man or woman. Amidst this chaos, make sure to keep sensitive information off the screen and beware of what’s on your screen before you decide to screen share for your portion of the presentation-especially when presenting for external customers.

Phishing attempts are not joke, seriously, I don’t want to minimize this. However, their execution can sometimes be hilariously bad. “Dear [Insert Name Here}, please to be confirming your password details below. You Thank Me. Security Team.” Really? if scammers are going to try to trick up, let’s at least use Grammarly. Remember, if an email looks as legitimate as a three-dollar bill with Benjamin Franklin’s face or a five-dollar bill with Rosa Parks; it probably is not legitimate.

Backups are essentail, right. It will be super easy. They haven’t met your home network that is frozen by the fridge software update. It is about a reliable as weather forecast during a hurricane. Backing up your files are crucial, but when your backup fails halfway because your network decides to take a nap right after your cat stomps on your keyboard, you may find yourself wondering whether pen and pencil weren’t such a bad idea after all.

As we navigate the peculiarities of remote work, let’s take a moment to laugh at the absurdities while diligently protecting our digitial lives. Cybersecurity in the remote work era night be like herding cats, but with strong passwords, secure networks, and a healthy dose of humor, we can keep our data safe, and our spirits high.. no zombie pun intended. Remember, the only thing more important than your coffee’s security is your computer’s. Cheers to staying security and slightly sane in the comfort of our own homes.


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National Cyber Security