Cybersecurity Issues of Telework During COVID-19 Pandemic

This article by Bob Weiss first appeared in in his web log at https://wyzguyscybersecurity.com

Usually, I am combating computer viruses.  These days, I am defending against the coronavirus, and COVID-19.

Why am I, as a cybersecurity professional, posting an article on COVID-19?  Cybersecurity covers more territory than many people realize.  Of course, a cybersecurity professional is always focused on protecting systems, networks, data, and information.  But any cybersecurity certification I have personally taken has always had a section on physical security, such as locks and surveillance cameras.  These certifications also consider the importance of human safety, of protecting the people who use the computers, systems, and networks that we secure.  It is part of the curriculum for a cybersecurity professional.

To protect ourselves and fellow employees from the dangers of COVID-19 infection, many companies are sending their staff home to engage in social distancing and self-quarantine.  The goal of social distancing and self-quarantine is to slow down the rate of new infections to a level that will not overwhelm the health care system, and cause more human deaths than necessary.  With these measures, the infection rate cold be as low as doubling every two weeks.  Without these measures, the number of infections can double as frequently as every 4 days.  The first we can handle.  The second we cannot.

Teleworking or work-from-home options are being put into place and deployed as quickly as possible.  As our users move outside the usual defensive perimeter of the on-premise network, home-bound employees find themselves working on networks and systems that are not defended in the same way from cyber-attackers.  This creates additional new cybersecurity risks for both employees and their companies.

And this is a new major issue for IT departments and cybersecurity teams.  To help my professional peers with this endeavor, I have collected resources from credible experts and the responsible state and federal agencies.

The death toll and economic impacts are looking bad and getting worse.  But if we all take care, maybe extraordinary care, we should be able to weather this storm and come out the other side, alive and reasonably unscathed.