Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


10:00 AM
PJ Kirner
PJ Kirner
Connect Directly
E-Mail vvv

Mitigating Cyber-Risk While We're (Still) Working from Home

One click is all it takes for confidential information to land in the wrong hands. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to teach preventative cybersecurity to remote workers.

Over the past few months, we've become very familiar with the many cybersecurity perils posed by a largely (or fully) remote workforce. It's clear that work-from-home (WFH) isn't going away anytime soon — and neither are bad actors.

Related Content:

VPNs: The Cyber Elephant in the Room

Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective

New on The Edge: Next-Gen Firewalls 101: Not Just a Buzzword

But as the fine line between working and living from home becomes increasingly blurred, it's important to step back and recognize that with everything interconnected, one click is all it takes for confidential information to land in the wrong hands.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to teach preventative cybersecurity — in your own home, at the dinner table — and a myriad of zero-trust tools you can leverage to keep yourself and your family cyber smart and secure while we WFH and go to school from home. Like anything else, practice makes perfect — and the same is true for cybersecurity. The better you can understand and practice the cybersecurity fundamentals within your own home, the safer off you and your loved ones will be.

Why Incidental Security Matters
Let's start with the basics. Every network, at home or work, sits behind network address translation (NAT) boxes that allow us to reuse RFC1918 private address spaces all over the world due to the scarcity of IPv4 addresses. NAT, often configured on enterprise firewalls or routers, provides some incidental security. For connections that need to originate from inside the corporate enterprise, it "accidentally" shields organizations from malicious Internet traffic coming in.

At home, most folks use a router provided by their Internet service provider. The home router has a firewall and NAT functionality so your family can safely connect out to your favorite websites, and those websites can send the data you asked for back to you.

However, with most employees now working at home, enterprise-grade firewalls at the edge of corporate networks are no longer protecting them or providing the needed visibility for IT to help keep the corporate users safe. That's where having an endpoint security solution that can provide visibility, segment and limit access between different internal networks and laptop devices can come in handy.

With CISOs, government employees, and business executives sharing home networks with their 15-year-old gamers and TikTok addicts, it's imperative to extend the principles of least privilege to the systems with important data inside the home network. Meaning that even if a bad actor gains access to your kid's network, your laptop and organization's internal assets stay in the clear. When it comes to proactively protecting against cyber threats, segmentation is one of the best ways to ensure that bad actors stay contained when they breach the perimeter. Because, let's be honest, it's bound to happen. And even if you don't click on something, your child might.

Understanding Your Zero-Trust Toolbox
We already touched on segmentation as a zero-trust tool, but there are many other tools you can use at home and at work (when we get back there) to ensure that your devices, networks, and crown jewels stay safe and secure.

According to our new report, 70% of organizations use multifactor authentication (MFA), topping the list of most popular zero-trust tools. It's a straightforward deployment (one you can use on your home devices via apps like Authy or Google Authenticator) and provides a valuable additional layer of security beyond just usernames and passwords. Similarly, 69% of security professionals use single sign-on (SSO) to sign in to their devices, enabling users to sign in once with strong credentials backed by MFA.

Other tools like segmentation can help extend the principles of "least privilege" to the end of your networks and assets, making it harder for bad actors (or well-intentioned kids) to break into and compromise your corporate devices.

Another way to keep cybersecurity top of mind in your home is to hold a "Security 101" lesson over your next family dinner to teach your family how to avoid malicious sites when downloading games, music, popular apps, or the personal information that can be unwittingly shared through social networks if you're not careful about what you share and with whom you connect. Hypervigilance, communication, and effective cybersecurity tools are key when it comes to keeping your family and your crown jewels safe and secure.

All in all, it's important to remember that you don't have to boil the ocean to mitigate cyber-risk in your home — especially with the challenges and tight budgets we face in COVID-19. It's important to be focused on actionable points and specific controls you can use to keep your families and data secure, whenever and wherever possible.

As chief technology officer and founder, PJ is responsible for Illumio's technology vision and platform architecture. PJ has 20 years of experience in engineering, with a focus on addressing the complexities of data centers. Prior to Illumio, PJ was CTO at Cymtec. He also ... View Full Bio

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
9/28/2020 | 4:30:17 AM
top phishing scams listed...
Agree with you 100%. Put out a phishing scams list on the top 10 ways hackers are using coronavirus to phish innocent users... here's the link.. https://www.phishprotection.com/blog/ten-ways-hackers-are-using-coronavirus-to-phish-you/

COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 10/23/2020
7 Tips for Choosing Security Metrics That Matter
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  10/19/2020
Russian Military Officers Unmasked, Indicted for High-Profile Cyberattack Campaigns
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  10/19/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-23
A Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability is identified in FruityWifi through 2.4. Due to a lack of CSRF protection in page_config_adv.php, an unauthenticated attacker can lure the victim to visit his website by social engineering or another attack vector. Due to this issue, an unauthenticat...
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-23
FruityWifi through 2.4 has an unsafe Sudo configuration [(ALL : ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL]. This allows an attacker to perform a system-level (root) local privilege escalation, allowing an attacker to gain complete persistent access to the local system.
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-23
NVIDIA GeForce Experience, all versions prior to, contains a vulnerability in the ShadowPlay component which may lead to local privilege escalation, code execution, denial of service or information disclosure.
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-23
An arbitrary command execution vulnerability exists in the fopen() function of file writes of UCMS v1.4.8, where an attacker can gain access to the server.
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-23
NVIDIA GeForce Experience, all versions prior to, contains a vulnerability in NVIDIA Web Helper NodeJS Web Server in which an uncontrolled search path is used to load a node module, which may lead to code execution, denial of service, escalation of privileges, and information disclosure.