Working with the internet: the risks and how to prevent them

Safely working with the internet everywhere.

The internet is now a constant in our lives, and working with the internet is, for some, a necessity and, for others, a choice. In this post, we will focus on the risks associated with working remotely and see how FlashStart helps businesses and organizations secure their networks and their employees, wherever they may be.

1. Working with the internet: its two meanings

Working with the internet today, in the post-pandemic era, takes on two distinct meanings. The first is related to using the internet as a field of work, while the second one looks at the internet as a means of connection. In both cases, the internet is the tool that makes work possible, and internet security is essential in order to work successfully.

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1.1 Work that comes from the internet

In the pre-pandemic, “working with the internet” primarily meant performing tasks and activities for which the internet is essential. These are often jobs that have only been created recently, for example, selling products and services online (with entire shopping platforms operating only through the network) or managing social networks on behalf of businesses, organizations, and companies that rely heavily on communication, or even managing networks and services specifically “of the internet.” From this perspective, the internet is seen and used as a fundamental means of communication and diffusion of contents.

The jobs created thanks to the internet are constantly evolving, and, in April, the World Economic Forum published “The future of jobs report 2023,” which highlights exactly how, according to most of the more than 800 companies surveyed, information technology will have a positive impact overall on the creation of new jobs over the next five years. Moreover, over seventy-five percent of companies estimate that more and more during this period they will adopt technologies related to big data, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence , with a consequent search for profiles suitable for their management.

>> You can activate FlashStart® Cloud any router or firewall in order to secure desktop and mobile devices and IoT devices on local networks.

1.2 Work that is made possible by the internet

In the post-pandemic era, “working with the internet” is, on the other hand, often associated with working remotely, that is, with the ability to do one’s work, which does not usually require being constantly connected, from anywhere and at any time by taking advantage of an internet connection in order to connect to the corporate network, attend meetings, and be virtually present in the company.

With this in mind, the internet is seen and used as a connection tool that allows people to cope with various situations without disrupting work routines and even going on to create new ones. This is evidenced by the fact that, while during 2021, there were more than four million Italian employees connecting remotely, in 2022, at least 3.6 million continued to perform all or part of their duties by connecting from outside the company network, attesting to the fact that remote work is here to stay in Italy, too.

Additional data and information on the prevalence and practice of remote work in Europe can be found in this dedicated article.

>> FlashStart protects you from a wide array of threats and blocks access to malicious sites. Try it now: working with the internet has never been so secure!

2. Working remotely: pros and cons

2.1 Advantages of remote work

The Milan Institute of Technology recently conducted studies to ascertain the benefits for people, companies, and employees of remote work. As the results indicate, working with the internet saves Italians money, with average savings estimated at €600 net per year for employees and €500 net per workstation for businesses. There is also an environmental benefit, calculated at about 450 Kg of CO2 emissions per year per person.

There is also an additional benefit for smart workers who are also granted flexibility in managing their work schedules, especially when working for objectives: research shows that they enjoy a greater sense of well-being, both compared to those who work onsite and compared to those who work remotely but without other forms of flexibility.

>> FlashStart is the flexible DNS filter and completely customizable. Discover all of its features by beginning your free trial now.

2.2 Risks and dangers of remote work

Although working with the internet brings a variety of advantages, there are risks and dangers associated with this modus operandi and, in particular, with constant connection to the network. Among the risks of working remotely, the following five deserve special attention:

» The possible confusion that arises regarding devices
» Using weak passwords
» Connections to public or unsecured internet networks
» Sharing sensitive data without adequate protection
» Opening links and attachments from unsecured sources.

Let’s look at them now in detail:

2.2.1 The possible confusion that arises regarding devices

Maintaining clear boundaries between professional and personal life is more difficult when working with the internet. This is true both in terms of timing, as unplugging becomes more difficult, and in terms of device management: using personal ones instead of starting up company-provided ones is often more straightforward, and so files with sensitive data find themselves circulating on PCs and tools that probably do not provide the same level of security as corporate devices do. The risk to cybersecurity increases quickly.

>> You can activate FlashStart® Cloud any router or firewall in order to secure desktop and mobile devices and IoT devices on local networks.

2.2.2 Using weak passwords

Related to the first point is also the use of weak passwords, often kept the same across many programs and devices and for a long period of time. In the case of a cyber-attack, the hacker who manages to identify the login details of a “lazy” user thus enjoys uncontrolled access to other sites and platforms, perhaps even corporate ones, resulting in potentially significant damage.

Increasingly, businesses are requiring that their employees use two-factor authentication, change their passwords regularly, and set up passwords that meet certain criteria deemed to be minimal for security. Do you want to know how to choose a secure password? Read our dedicated article.

2.2.3 Connections to public or unsecured internet networks

Working with the internet rhymes with freedom of movement and, therefore, the ability to potentially work from any place that has an internet connection, including public Wi-Fi networks and private ones, for example in hotels, but whose reliability from a cybersecurity point of view is unknown.

What to do to reduce this risk? The use of VPNs, virtual private networks that establish a secure connection to the corporate network, helps reduce risks from public networks. However, it is primarily the installation of applications such as ClientShield by FlashStart which allows all incoming and outgoing internet traffic to be filtered at the individual device level, ensuring that dangerous contents, such as malware, ransomware, and other unwanted contents considered unsuitable for the corporate environment, are blocked.

2.2.4 Sharing sensitive data without adequate protection

Remote working makes sharing data via the internet between collaborators a necessity in order to ensure that everyone is up-to-date and aligned. This can be done in a variety of ways, from sending emails with attachments to using common repositories for data made up by cloud services.

Although the cloud makes sharing increasingly secure, there remains the doubt associated with access to the cloud itself, which is done through the user’s profile and whose security, therefore, depends on the “strength” of the password, the channel of access, and the possibilities of third party interference with our access to the cloud, often exploiting errors of which we are not even aware.

FlashStart’s content filter is also totally cloud-based, and it is because of this that it can guarantee up-to-date protection for all of its users, wherever they are. In addition, the FlashStart filter uses artificial intelligence algorithms and machine learning mechanisms to constantly scan the internet for dangerous and unwanted contents to block. The results of these searches are available immediately to users who can enjoy maximum protection without the need to download any updates or undertake lengthy system reboots.

Additional information on how filters improve computer protection can be found in this dedicated article.

2.2.5 Opening links and attachments from unsecured sources

Finally, whether connecting remotely or working within the corporate network, one of the great dangers of working with the internet is clicking on unsafe links or opening attachments from unknown sources, triggering dreaded phishing attacks.

Sometimes this happens unknowingly, as hackers build replicas of pages and documents that are extremely similar to the originals. In other cases, it is curiosity that entices us to click on links and pages developed specifically to hit our eye, so-called targeted attacks. This is the case with spam emails, which we discussed in detail in this article.

Opening a malicious link can trigger the downloading of malware to the device we are using, sometimes visibly, with an almost instantaneous blocking of functionality, and sometimes deviously. The malware can, in fact, remain silent for various lengths of time while it works in the background and gathers information, and then the hacker can decide to launch a ransomware attack at will.

You can activate the FlashStart® Cloud protection on any sort of Router and Firewall to secure desktop and mobile devices and IoT devices on local networks.

Reading time 3 min
Elena DeolaEnglish Interpreter and Blogger
As an English Interpreter and Blogger, I'm dedicated to sharing insights through my blog. With a passion for communication, I strive to make complex concepts accessible to readers, fostering understanding and connection in an increasingly globalized world.

View all posts by Elena Deola

As an English Interpreter and Blogger, I'm dedicated to sharing insights through my blog. With a passion for communication, I strive to make complex concepts accessible to readers, fostering understanding and connection in an increasingly globalized world.
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