Growing Home PC Use for Work Puts Cybersecurity at Risk, Experts Warn
Study finds 62% use private devices for remote work
A survey conducted by NordVPN revealed that 62% of employees are extremely vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks due to using personal computers for remote work during the Coronavirus pandemic. A total of 42% claimed to use personal devices exclusively, and 20% switched between personal and company laptops depending on convenience.
These findings have alarmed cybersecurity experts.
“Personal laptops might lack the necessary security software, such as an ant-virus, a business VPN, and others,” said Daniel Markuson, a digital privacy expert at NordVPN. “On top of that, people tend to be more relaxed when using personal computers and download games, browse dodgy websites, and click suspicious links.”
What’s interesting is that a whopping 28% of these users are IT professionals — people who should be aware of the risks associated with using personal gadgets.
However, despite failing to take the appropriate security measures, most respondents were incredibly organized when it came to working from home — 74% had a dedicated office or desk for work, 11% used the kitchen table, 5% worked from the sofa, and 3% had no set comfortable place and moved around. Only 2% of all respondents worked from their beds.
The good news is that people don’t feel like their work-life balance is suffering. Approximately 48% had no trouble separating their work from their free time, 33% had difficulty in balancing work and leisure, and 18% were undecided.
“It is important to maintain a healthy work-life balance,” Markuson said. “Data from our business VPN solution NordVPN Teams shows that people tend to work two hours more on average when working from home.”
According to him, daily server loads of NordVPN Teams, a product only used for work purposes, revealed that the average workday is now approaching 11 hours — people are spending up to three hours longer logged into business VPNs. This enormous (37.5%) jump in working hours was chiefly recorded in the U.S., but the numbers have been rising all over the world — the U.K., Canada, France, Spain, and other European countries, for example, saw a hefty two-hour increase.
People also seem to be careful when it comes to new apps — 54% of all respondents hadn’t downloaded any new apps since the lockdown began. Of those who had, 24% downloaded new apps deemed necessary by their employer, 12% downloaded apps for leisure (such as exercise, cooking, or gaming apps), but only 8% downloaded productivity apps.
“It’s a good idea to research and install apps that could make you more productive, help manage your day-to-day tasks, and keep you secure online,” Markuson said. “Employing a password manager with a secure sharing function, such as NordPass, could be a good alternative to sending credentials via DM or email. People often forget that it can be unsafe to simply send passwords via a messaging platform or email. If you do, make sure you delete the message immediately after the password was saved somewhere else. Otherwise, you risk compromising the password in case of a data breach.”
When it comes to free time, the findings mirror the high spike in streaming service use — 72% of the surveyed were watching TV series or movies at home. Other popular activities included spring cleaning, household chores, reading books, learning new things, playing computer games, and chatting online with family and friends.
In the end, 43% of respondents thought that they were more productive when working from home, compared to 36% who felt ambiguous about the situation and only 19% who claimed they were less productive.
This study was conducted over the last two weeks of March. In total, 5,000 people who were working from home due to social distancing were surveyed.