Law, Accounting and Consulting Firms Beware… COVID-19 Themed Attacks WILL Affect You As Well!!

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As organizations around the world quickly (and maybe haphazardly) retool their infrastructures to allow their employees to work from home (WFH) during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, hackers and bad actors have been relentless with their attacks on not only the key healthcare industry but other professional industries as well.  Because of the heightened fear that has been brought about by the COVID-19 virus, hackers are working in overdrive to leverage this fear; crafting COVID-19 themed spam, ransomware and malware.  These, new attacks, unfortunately, are having a greater success; taking advantage of workers who are no longer protected by the walled fortress security that their corporate environments offered as they work from home.

While many organizations look to increasing the amount of legacy VPN use in order to give their employees access to their corporate networks so they can do their jobs, as we’ve advised in previous blogs, there are huge security cracks showing.  Legacy VPNs were just not built for scaling so that they could support millions of users nationally or globally.  And that is the big issue.  In a recent threat post article, “New research found that almost HALF of companies had malware on their corporate-associated home networks – in comparison to malware being found on only 13 percent of corporate networks.”  Further, “home office networks are 3.5 times more likely than corporate networks to be infected by malware”.  This does not bode well as the coronavirus forces organizations to shift their workers to WFH.

Where does this leave professional organizations such as law, accounting and consulting firms as they too have their employees WFH?

Unfortunately, as we see by recent news articles, these organizations are not immune and, if anything, are more focused targets of hackers since their computer systems and networks are loaded with confidential client information, accounting, financial information and other digital files that could severely hamper any work if they were inaccessible.  One recent example of this came through CBC News, which reported that ransomware had locked two Manitoba law firms out of their computer systems.  This “left lawyers and staff at the firms without access to client lists, emails, accounting and financial information, photos and other digital files.  Cloud backups were also locked.”  In this instance it was suspected that someone had clicked on a link or an attachment that had been infected with a virus and this virus then went on to infect the firms’ entire systems.  Although paper records and court filings could be used to retrieve some of the locked data, since the lawyers usually work with a large amount of privileged and confidential information, it would be disastrous if this got into the wrong hands.  If the firms refuse to pay the ransoms, the hackers could turn around and warn that if they aren’t paid, they could just leak the data; this could be devastating to the law firm, both from a reputational standpoint but also from a financial standpoint if the clients who were affected chose to sue the firms.

The same result as above can be felt in literally all professional firms.  Accounting firms, should their data be breached and locked, could have their work ground to a halt if they are unable to access their clients’ accounting information in order to carry out client requests.  Consulting firms, with huge amounts of client data on their computers and systems, could face a barrage of lawsuits if valuable corporate data were leaked.  With employees from these firms in WFH mode, the networks and infrastructures of these organizations are at particular risk if they do not make sure that they have proper security solutions in place.  Although many firms may believe that the legacy VPNs that are enabling their employees to access corporate data from home would be safe; because the employees’ WFH networks are inherently unsafe, it is opening up their corporate networks to easier attacks by determined hackers.

That’s where Wedge Networks can help.  Using its years of experience providing orchestrated real-time security against all malware, Wedge has recently launched its Wedge Absolute Real-time Protection (WedgeARP) Secure Remote Office  and Secure Home Office solutions to bring bullet-proof security to legacy VPNs and other remote office solutions.  Utilizing the WedgeARP platform, it is a cloud-managed, on-premises or cloud-enforced security service offering that provides a vast array of optimized Security-as-a-Service features to organizations; enabling effective security solutions for any cloud-connected computing devices.  Wedge’s solution provides real-time threat protection for all types of endpoints in different types of networks used by WFH and more (mobile data, 5G, SD-WAN, SASE and smart-city / IIoT).  It further enables situational awareness for the entirety of managed networks, with security event tracing, rapid response, centralized policy management, reporting, and analytics; features that legacy VPNs just do not have.

With a proactive “Detect and Block” approach to security instead of the prevalent “Detect and Remediate” response approach, Wedge’s Secure Remote Office solution offers a preventative solution for these professional firms, and really ALL organizations, that are facing the need to ensure that their employees can be productive but SECURE in a WFH environment.  By bringing security, normally seen in just the corporate network environment, to the home office environment, organizations can feel more secure in allowing their employees to access corporate data from home without having to fear that their corporate networks will be compromised.

To find out more about how WedgeARP Secure Remote Office and Secure Home Office solutions could benefit your organization, contact us at:  For those organizations who already have a VPN infrastructure in place, WedgeARP can be easily deployed into their VPN Cloud to protect all connected systems and devices.  For those organizations who have not yet implemented a VPN infrastructure, Wedge provides professional services to help quickly set up remote offices with Microsoft Azure vWAN, secured by WedgeARP.  Don’t allow your organization to be at the mercy of the unrelenting hackers during this time.  We have the solution for you and we’re here to help!

About Wedge Chief Scientist

Husam Kinawi, Chief Scientist Dr. Kinawi has a PhD and MSc in Computer Science from the Universities of Calgary, Canada and London, UK. In 1997, he co-founded Mpower Technologies Inc., a wireless telecommunications software company. In 1999, Dr. Kinawi co-founded (NASDAQ: AIQT), a Boston-based e-Business applications firm. Dr. Kinawi has over seventeen years of research and development experience working with industry leaders such as Newbridge (Alcatel), Siemens, United Technologies, and Apple in the areas of distributed information systems, embedded applications and wireless Internet solutions. Dr. Kinawi has also spoken at several major conferences, published several research papers, and is the holder of several patents in the area of mobile and wireless devices.
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