REMOTE work and data storage on the cloud are considered among the top cybersecurity threats that could compromise consumers’ financial and other personal data, according to the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP).
BAP said the practice of remote work, which allows Filipinos to work anywhere, exposes consumers to unsafe internet connections given that working outside of an office “typically mean less oversight from the IT teams.”
The popularity of storing data on the cloud has attracted cybercriminals to steal data stored online. This is especially the case for corporations.
“Cybersecurity is an area that will continue to evolve for the years to come. As such, it is important for all stakeholders to keep abreast of trends so that they can protect themselves and their personal data,” the bankers’ group said.
Apart from these, ransomware is also another major threat, especially for business owners. Cybercriminals can access their victim’s systems and encrypt their files.
Once this occurs, cybercriminals only allow the victims to access their files again once they pay a ransom to the criminals.
“This form of cybercrime does not just carry the risk of financial losses. That’s because the risks associated with losing customers’ trust is something that goes beyond the financial aspect—it can affect your public image, for example, thus making others to never trust you,” according to the BAP.
In order to avoid becoming victims, BAP said when working outside the office, it is advisable to avoid public WiFi hotspots or to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when accessing the internet publicly.
Consumers should also know the difference between phishing emails and authentic emails; use strong passwords; only use devices provided by your office for work-related tasks; and not to leave your devices around in public places.
When using cloud storage for data, BAP said it is necessary to avoid storing files that contain sensitive information or at least encrypt these files to prevent third-parties from accessing them.
The BAP also recommends that Filipinos use strong passwords when using cloud services. This can be done by using more than 10 characters with a mixture of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols on passwords.
As for ransomware, BAP said companies and business owners should ensure that employees have a strong foundation on cybersecurity, such as knowing how to spot cases of phishing.
It is also pertinent that all software systems are updated at all times to address existing security vulnerabilities from previous versions of a system.
Companies and business owners should also maintain strong passwords and avoid clicking links on suspicious websites so that malware will not be downloaded.