Cybersecurity: teleworking remains a boulevard for hackers

Par ediallo - 29 January, 2021 - 22:11

Hackers never stop, and even less so in times of crisis, when teleworking has become more widespread in companies. This creates a playground for any cyber attack that could harm an organization. But a security strategy can minimize exposure and risk.

More than 400% in a single week! As soon as containment came into force in March 2020, phishing(1) attempts increased alarmingly, reports the government's Cybermalveillance platform, which has seen a dramatic increase in requests for assistance from businesses that have been victims of hacking into their computer systems and online accounts, as well as ransom attacks(2).

It must be said that "80% of companies are ill-prepared for cyber risk," notes the pure player firm Synetis (Paris, Rennes, Nantes), which assists them in the security of digital transformation.

For example, fraud against the president, a classic example of cybersecurity (which consists of usurping the identity of a supplier), "affects everyone," warns Sylvain Laborde, head of the ISS consulting division. "And transport companies, which are increasingly interconnected and digitalized, are all the more vulnerable," he adds.

A charter of best practices

But it must be recognized that, in this fragile economic context, companies forced to make trade-offs may tend to reduce their spending on information security. However, it is still possible to improve one's strategy with more limited means.

Sylvain Laborde suggests implementing a risk-based approach and focusing on those risks identified as "major".

In the midst of a health crisis, cybersecurity may be relegated to the background. This is the case for Transports Gardon in Ardèche (160 employees, 150 vehicles, €29 million in turnover), which is not spared by the increase in identity fraud.

Although this company, which specializes in vehicle transport, uses internal and external backup solutions, a firewall and a VPN (virtual private network that enables the user's connection to be secured by encrypting it and relocating it to an external server), it has not really implemented a security strategy.

Even if this subject is taken seriously, the director, Stéphane Gardon, acknowledges that it is not a priority: "We don't really feel concerned, rightly or wrongly. The carrier is thinking of drafting a charter of best practices on computer use.

The crisis is a godsend

Of course, there is no need to panic, but the danger should not be underestimated. The experience of the director of information systems at the Mousset Group (Vendée) is proof of this.

"Attempts at intrusion (scamming the president, identity theft ...) are constant, which forces us to increase our vigilance," says Anaïs Babin, who takes advantage every month of the company's internal newspaper to address the subject.

No later than last December we received the call from platforms that pretended to be technicians who had to intervene on the workstations with remote control. As soon as the risk was identified, our employees were alerted".

With the sudden arrival of containment and the widespread use of teleworking, which has become essential, particularly in the road transport sector, the use of Cloud services has increased sharply and attacks, already numerous, have multiplied.

"More and more companies, more or less mature, have opened, out of necessity, external flows to organize and enable teleworking," relates Thierry Mottin, Business Development Manager at Kh-Corporate, a digital service company. Some organizations were already prepared for this. This is the case at Mousset.

The neglected security aspect

Although teleworking has become more widespread, all sedentary people have been affected. This context therefore prompted Anaïs Babin to accelerate certain existing security projects, such as single sign-on for more efficient and secure user access management.

But for other organizations, this had to be done in a hurry, without any real mastery of the security measures that needed to be put in place to protect the information system satisfactorily.

"In the rush, many companies focused on authorizing access, neglecting the security aspect. The result is an explosion of unsecured access channels in companies," notes Juliette Rizkallah, marketing director at SailPoint, a company specializing in identity and access governance.