Cyber Security in The Isolation Economy: How to Ensure your Workforce and Business are Protected from Cyber Attacks

As organisations move towards remote working and virtual engagements during the Circuit Breaker period, it is essential to also safeguard their security on cyberspace. As part of the Isolation Economy webinar series, SGTech invited experts from Palo Alto Networks and Wizlynx to present on the sources of threats businesses can be vigilant against, as well as the guide to access their company's cyber hygiene.

Securing Your Mobile Workforce - Palo Alto Networks

Mr Jon Goh, Channel Business Manager at Palo Alto Networks, presented to the webinar participants on the impact to the company's network as employees are made to work from home at short notice, as well as the common threat vectors that have been popular since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Companies may have only catered 20% network bandwidth to support their workforce's remote working access based on standard business operations, and are now experiencing overloaded networks which impacts efficiency and user experience.

(The sudden surge for remote working has cause these 4 challenges for remote network access)

Mr Goh noted that short-term solutions such as increasing hardware to expand the bandwidth only provides limited benefits, as users are always trying to connect to the network remotely. With this constant connection to the company through the remote users' system, Mr Goh pointed out that it is a vulnerable area for cyber threats.

(Palo Alto’s research team notes the sharp increase in malicious websites related to COVID-19 after it was declared a pandemic.)

According to research done by Palo Alto Networks, there is a spike in domains registered that serves as websites providing information about the COVID-19 virus, as well as other keywords and trends related to the virus. While not all of them are threat vectors, a considerable portion of the websites were identified as malicious sites that lure users into opening malicious emails or clicking on phishing links.

(Hackers are constantly looking for ways to gain access, and a common method is to masquerade as legitimate sources of information on COVID-19)  

Mr Goh encouraged companies to be aware and remind their workforce to be vigilant when browsing suspicious websites and emails, as cyber-attacks have evolved from disabling a company's network or machines to stealing company information to be resold or repurposed by the hacker.

Cyber Hygiene during COVID 19 - Wizlynx

Mr Leow Kim Hock, CEO of Wizlynx, continued the next part of the webinar by sharing the best practices that businesses can do to upkeep their cyber hygiene. 

(Hackers typically employ a multi-prong approach to gain access to the company’s systems) 
Hackers are always trying to access the networks of victims to obtain data which they use for malicious purposes. With a significant portion of Singapore's workforce working from home during this Circuit Breaker period, Mr Leow also informed participants that home networks are also at risk for attacks.

Even beyond the Circuit Breaker period, SMEs should still be vigilant against attacks, especially when a majority of the workforce has pivoted to working off-site until the COVID-19 situation is over.

(6 areas that SME owners can easily look at  to upkeep their organisation’s cyber hygiene)

Mr Leow emphasised that hackers can easily succeed in accessing the network through easily preventable methods:

  1. Through social engineering methods – staff clicking on suspicious emails or links that allows hackers to access the network
  2. Outdated software – Software that contains that were not updated to patch vulnerabilities
  3. Not using Multi-factor Authentication – Hackers can easily access the network and data with only using the username and password
  4. Improper Use of Administrative Accounts – Allowing staff with limited rights full administrator access to the company's network and information
  5. Weak passwords – easily guessed or common passwords
  6. Outdated Malware Software – Software that not updated with the latest malware signatures

(6 areas that SME owners can easily look at  to upkeep their organisation’s cyber hygiene)

We thank Palo Alto Networks and Wizlynx for the support.

You can catch the webinar recording to find out more about Cyber Security

You may also wish to download the presentation slides from the two presenters:
Securing Your Mobile Workforce - Palo Alto Networks
Cyber Hygiene during COVID 19 - Wizlynx

More to come
This webinar is a part of a series, "The Isolation Economy", through which SGTech shares useful information and resources with SMEs and startups. Please view the list of upcoming webinars.

Published May 2020