April 13, 2020
To slow the spread of the coronavirus, millions of people around the world have been working from home for about three weeks now – including more than 100,000 Siemens employees. Siemens and 16 other global companies from the Charter of Trust (CoT) initiative have developed eight tips for boosting cybersecurity so that employees can work just as securely from home as they do at the office. Their recommendations are meant to help ward off hacker attacks and enable companies to maintain business continuity. These tips range from switching off voice-controlled devices and covering webcams to not mixing personal and business use of devices. All recommendations have been published on the Charter of Trust website: bit.ly/39BB8Gv.
“In particular in times of crisis, large enterprises have a special responsibility,” said Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of Siemens AG. “Living up to this responsibility also involves supporting others, jointly developing solutions and sharing knowledge for the benefit of all – just as the Charter of Trust partners have been doing for two years now.”
COVID-19 not only poses a health risk, but also a cybersecurity threat for many companies. To reduce the likelihood of infection, much of the workforce is now teleworking. Employees will also increasingly need to exchange sensitive data from home to keep business operations from coming to a standstill. At Siemens alone, an average of 130,000 employees all over the world have been connecting to the company’s intranet from home since mid-March – nearly four times more than usual.
IT infrastructure at home, however, is typically less secure than at the office – a vulnerability that hackers are increasingly exploiting. In addition, hackers are trying to use e-mail scams, for example, to take advantage of the uncertainty related to the COVID-19 crisis. This situation is making the employees’ role as guardians of cybersecurity even more important. The CoT partners’ eight recommendations can help avert hacker attacks:
- – Bring home only the devices and information that are absolutely necessary.
- – Safeguard your home network and communicate via secure connections.
- – Keep the software on all your devices up to date.
- – Switch off voice-controlled smart devices at your home workstation and cover the webcam when you’re not using it.
- – Don’t mix personal and business use of devices.
- – Proactively identify all participants in online meetings.
- – Log off when you stop using your devices and store them securely.
- – Be extremely wary of suspicious e-mails or attachments, particularly if you don’t know the sender.
To enable large numbers of employees to log in to the Siemens network from home as securely as possible, Siemens IT experts took action when the corona crisis began in mid-March. Within just 24 hours, they set up stable intranet access for some 140,000 employees and have thus provided cybersecurity at levels similar to those available at the office.