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Cybersecurity expert CrowdStrike has issued a stark warning to British businesses, telling them to crack down on lax remote working policies now or risk catastrophic exposure at the hands of adversaries after lockdown is over.

Its latest research, in cooperation with YouGov, has found that over half (52%) of people in the UK working from home do so on their own personal devices, creating potential backdoors into corporate systems for adversaries. CrowdStrike has also seen a 100X increase in COVID-19 related malicious files circulating in February and March, yet two thirds (65%) of remote workers in the UK say they had no extra training against cyberattacks.

Missing proper cyber security practices

"It is important to stress that businesses in the UK are at huge risk of cyber security breaches right now," warned Mike Sentonas, CTO at CrowdStrike. "Most companies had to improvize in order to keep their operations running during lockdown. But the rush of creating a fully-remote workforce has meant that proper cyber security practices have fallen by the wayside. We have seen a rapid increase in attempted cyber-attacks by criminals taking advantage of the situation. UK businesses are attractive targets to these adversaries right now."

Despite the rapid evolution and expansion of the cyber security threat landscape during the pandemic, only a third (33%) of respondents believe that cyber-attacks are more likely now than before the lockdown. Similarly, only 6% of respondents believe their personal devices are less secure than corporate ones, highlighting the urgent need for education around cyber security threats.

"If companies don't take urgent action to tighten security measures around remote working practices, adversaries will gut organizations from the inside out. The time for UK businesses to wake up from their COVID-19 induced cyber security slumber is now," concludes Sentonas.

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