Hannah J Lobdell

Secure remote access: Is Bring Your Own Network (BYON) secure?

The average cost of a business data breach falls between $2.8 - $5.7 million in 2021, and the likelihood of these attacks has skyrocketed in the transition to hybrid work models. As more remote employees access private company data from their home networks, businesses are unwittingly put at risk by their enterprise-grade security solutions, many of which simply weren’t designed to protect the new corporate edge (the employee home).  

Now, businesses must invest in cybersecurity measures that go beyond employer-provided devices. Bring Your Own Network (BYON) is the trend that introduced businesses to the smart home threatscape. Let's take a closer look at its associated risks and benefits. 

<img src="ico-remote-female-employee-working-from-home-on-phone.jpg" alt="remote-female-employee-working-from-home-with-Bring-Your-Own-Network"> 

Let’s recap: What is Bring Your Own Network?  

Bring Your Own Network (BYON) is an initiative that enables employees to use their own personal area networks (PANs) to access work-related systems and data while working from home. BYON is an expansion of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, which first allowed employees to connect their personal devices at work.  

The difference is that now businesses are responsible for protecting more than just one on-site device; the employee home network has a multitude of connected gadgetsincluding smart thermostats, Peloton, Roomba and more. And each of these devices introduces new attack vectors— vulnerabilities that can be exploited by a hacker to remotely gain control of a device and the network to which it's connected.  

So, is Bring Your Own Network Secure? Not inherently.  

With every remote worker participating in BYON, the protection of a company’s data and continuity is dependent on the security of its distributed access points. Traditional corporate security – like firewalls, VPN and end-to-end security – don’t need to be completely overhauled, but there is a key element needing protection: the home network.  

These enterprise securities don’t account for the 12+ connected devices in the average smart home, all of which can act as the “trojan horse” for external vectors to infiltrate a corporate network. VPN and firewalls can also be very expensive and require customization and Tier 3 IT support for upkeep, indicating the need for a more sustainable remote solution.  

While BYON offers convenience and affordability, an additional layer of home network security is still needed to defend corporate data from the most popular cyber attacks remote employees are facing today, including 

  1. Social engineering 
  2. DDoS attacks 
  3. Ransomware 

Phishing for Access: Fake emails and social engineering attacks 

Corporate defenses like VPNs and firewall are often slow in filtering network traffic, allowing for more intelligent smart home breaches to slip through the company's security system. Common social engineering attacks – like phishing emails, for example – could easily manipulate an employee’s personal device to access an enterprise network.
74% of US businesses have fallen victim to phishing email attacks so far in 2021.  Also consider that these attacks can occur via third-party platforms. For example, the false VPN credential request that infiltrated Office 365, targeting 15,000 employees through Microsoft’s server by impersonating their respective IT departments.

For employees engaging in BYON, this everyday attack can have devastating consequences. A company’s entire system could be compromised if even one employee falls for the scam, which is exactly what happened to Facebook and Google when scammers stole over $100 million with a series of intelligent phishing emails to their employees. 

Denied, denied, denied: DDoS attacks wreak havoc on WFH networks 

With the migration to work from home policies, the frequency of DDoS attacks increased 542% between Q4 of 2019 and Q1 of 2020. These infiltrations send in multiple requests to a website with the goal to overload the systems, allowing hackers to use devices previously infected with malware as a backdoor. 

If an employee device is attacked by a DDoS strike and infected with malware, it can spread like a virus. There is even the chance of infection via exposure to other healthy devices on the network. These types of lateral attacks are exactly why BYON requires smart home security; if a PC infection can spread quickly and quietly from device to device, the corporate network in question is in a high-risk position every time that end user establishes a connection. 

Ransomware: Zero-day vulnerability

Globally, ransomware has become an IT team’s worst nightmare post-pandemic. While this unique form of malware doesn’t always follow one form of attack, they're almost always a result of employee or user error. And in the transition to remote work, ransomware hackers have turned their focus to conducting corporate infiltrations via the employee network.

Employees falling victim to ransomware can get locked out of their own machine, or worse, allow the hackers to encrypt sensitive corporate files. Hackers can even target the backup systems that are in place, leaving companies no choice but to pay the demand. And with some company ransom demands skyrocket towards the tens of millions of dollars in 2021, this is a BYON vulnerability best not overlooked. 

How to make BYON more secure  

Enterprise security fails to defend against common IoT vulnerabilities and malware because it is underprepared to handle the scale of these attacks. Defending the new corporate edge requires a multi-faceted approach, which is why layering home network defense into your cybersecurity strategy is the best way to safeguard privacy and protect sensitive corporate data.   

Minim offers executives and IT professionals tools to better support and secure their distributed workforces with effective and affordable remote technology solutions that are designed to defend the new-age smart home, like our own Bring Your Own Network (BYON)™ solution. 

Get your business BYON™ ready   

Minim’s Bring Your Own Network (BYON)™ solution brings enterprise-level security and IoT management to the home network to protect against the growing WFH threatscape. In addition to defending the corporate cloud with an AI-driven Next Gen IoT firewall, BYON ™ keeps intruders at bay with 7-layer traffic identification, work filters, and additional levels of protection to deliver: 

  • Better employee privacy  
  • Improved IT support  
  • Enhanced productivity  
  • Optimized WiFi performance. 

Minim's BYON solution, like ad block, integrated content filtering, and known exploit threat mitigation, will automatically alert companies and their employees of suspicious activity on their servers, allowing for simple protocol enforcement with minimal workday interference Minim is also the right-sized solution for remote employee homes, with flexible pricing options for every business.    

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