Security for Remote Teams: A Comprehensive Guide

Working for a remote client is always a risky move. However, you can ensure security for the remote team by just adopting foolproof security measures. By simply following a careful pattern, it is possible to avoid security breaches.

Online companies such as Stripe store and Uber get access to credit card and location information of their customers by following PCI-compliance. They perform this simple task by strictly following security policies.

It is essential for such companies to guarantee safety regarding their production environment. They can achieve a high level of security by using the services of remote development teams.

How to Get Secured

When talking about security, we mean information security. This term relates to the protection of information from being accessed, modified, used, disclosed or disrupted by an unauthorized person.

It is a fact that getting complete and perfect security is not possible when most of the personal or official information is available online. However, security in this context means that you have made sufficient arrangements to avoid any kind of security breach.

You must take such steps, which ensure that all the information is used in a way that is safe and highly recommended. Never fall prey to offers available on the web, which offer you some sort of reward for signing in or for sharing personal information.

information security on websites and remote teams

Remote teams cover more areas, which are vulnerable to attacks as compared to centralized teams. A centralized team may secure information by storing it behind company workstations and firewalls. On the contrary, for a remote worker, you need to provide a device known as (BYOD).

As the online communication has geared up in the last decade, the chances of getting affected by identity theft and social engineering are always there. Nevertheless, by adopting the required set of policies, you can limit the risk of a security breach.

Most Common Adversarial Attacks

If you have no familiarity with these attacks, which can possibly steal personal information, it is not possible to create a viable security plan. There are numerous strategies used during these attacks, but the following three are most noticeable:

  • Phishing
  • Social Engineering
  • Malware Infections

Phishing

This method is commonly used for getting access and stealing particular credentials. Phishing is done by an attacker by creating a website, which appears as a real and legitimate one. However, it’s a fake website, used to attract personal information without any prior authorization.

information security against phishing

For example, hackers can use the Facebook domain to introduce their fake website to Facebook users. This strategy is known as the ‘Man in’. However, thanks to the latest browsers, you receive an immediate warning if anything suspicious activity happens.

Another form of phishing is called “Spear phishing”. During this attack, the phishing page is normally customized with reference to your organization page. This is the most destructive and hard to notice attack, specifically when social engineering is also involved.

Social Engineering

Popularly known as human hacking, social engineering refers to a practice where people are persuaded to perform actions which are against their interests. It involves obtaining information which is highly confidential.

information security against social engineering

Compassionate exploitation is the most widely used strategy utilized during Social Engineering attacks. They create a sense of urgency or offer you something to ensure your compliance.

Malware Infection

Among numerous Malware Infections out there, a few are simply harmless and others are annoying. Nevertheless, there are certain malware that are known for their destructive nature. Some of these are explained below:

Remote Administration Tools (RATs): Gives authority to obtain overall control over a computer.

Spyware: It installs itself silently and makes a record of your screen, keystrokes, video, and audio.

Ransomware: It works by encrypting essential files and forces you to pay to get a decryption key.

Cyber Defense Strategies

After discussing the methods used during adversarial attacks, it’s time to know how to secure yourself from these attacks.

Managing the Password in a Proper Manner

Just like most of us, I used to believe that passwords are the securest way to protect personal information. But in reality, passwords and usernames are the weakest of all kinds of user authentications which exist in the cyber world.

information security with passwords

The truth is that a password is just a set of characters which is generated by the human mind. It is not difficult to judge these words as most people use a single password for their all online accounts.

The most adverse factor attached with these passwords is that people use simple characters for the sake of their own convenience. This makes it a lot easier for the hackers to steal all the information by just interrupting single barrier.

So how to get secured? For this purpose, you must complete these highly recommended actions.

  • Use a password manager
  • Use strong pass-phrases instead of passwords

Password Manager

It is recommended that you use a password manager to get a secure password. The most important element in this regard is to analyze whether all your passwords are unique. It keeps your other accounts from an expected breach in case one of the accounts is attacked. Try to use at least 32 bits of entropy and ensure that the passwords are stored in an encrypted form.

If you have not followed any of the above-mentioned guidelines, you must choose a perfect password manager. It is advised to use this tool as it can generate random passwords and store them in a safe place. It doesn’t make any difference as to what type of password manager you use, the most important thing is to use one.

In the above lines, the term entropy is used. Claude Shannon defines this term in the following words:

“The entropy is a statistical parameter which measures, in a certain sense, how much information is produced on average for each letter of text in the language. If the language is translated into binary digits (0 or 1) in the most efficient way, the entropy H is the average number of binary digits required per letter of the original language.”

Use strong pass-phrases instead of passwords

Besides using a password manager, it’s also recommended to use strong pass-phrases where passwords are not appropriate to use. For instance, if you need a master password for your password manager, you must go for a memorable and highly secure passphrase. It must have a strong entropy level.

A pass-phrase is different in a sense as it contains a larger number of characters than a password. It minimizes the chances of unauthorized use or attack. The only problem with high entropy passwords is that it is hard to memorize them.

Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

The 2-step verification or 2-factor Authentication (2FA) are two different names for the same thing. The security benefits of using this verification method are numerous and save you in terms of unmatched security. Basically, three things can be used for such kind of authentication.

  • A secret known by you
  • A hardware token
  • Your physical data (Finger Prints)

You can add more security to your account by using more than one of these verification codes. Most of the websites offer the first factor. Many websites offer a hardware token, but it isn’t very common yet. The third one is not available by most web services, as it requires specific hardware, i.e fingerprint sensor.

If you are serving as an administrator of a team, make sure to create a mandatory policy for the users to follow 2FA setup. This leaves no chance of password attacks and you need not compromise the security of your confidential information.

Besides this, you can use the U2F key for 2FA, as it is the easiest and powerful way for gaining unmatched security. For example, Yubikey Neo can be used for both smartphones and computers. It works by providing the credentials regarding the identity of the user. You have to plug in the hardware token and then press a button. This is one of the most secure ways to log into your account.

Constant Vigilance

No matter how far you have gone in gaining security, it is a good habit to stay vigilant and monitor any kind of suspicious activity. Don’t respond to anything which requires personal information or which is not ordinary.

Least Privilege: The Principle to Follow

Wikipedia defines Least privilege is the following words:

“The principle of least privilege requires that in a particular abstraction layer of a computing environment, every module (such as a process, a user, or a program, depending on the subject) must be able to access only the information and resources that are necessary for its legitimate purpose.”

If a website, user, service or application doesn’t need certain privileges, it would be wise not to provide the same for the security reasons. It is possible for you to customize various rules out of this principle.


Originally published at Dot Net Factory.

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