The pandemic caused a major shift to remote work, leading to many challenges for companies, not the least of which is cybersecurity. A new remote worker cybersecurity study from AT&T conducted by Opimiun reveals that more than half (54%) of remote workers are regularly using their work device for personal purposes, including sharing work equipment with family members.

According to a Malwarebytes report, 20% of firms had a security breach related to a remote worker. Even if remote workers are using devices issued by their companies that have security installed, they may not be as attentive to keeping others (spouse, children) from accessing their device, which can lead to its own cybersecurity and privacy risks.

The risks from employees add to the risks that consumers face directly from fraudsters, which has led AT&T and other telecom companies to include new protections as part of their offerings, as Telecompetitor reported.

Additionally, 35% admitted to using work equipment to connect to smart home devices, including voice assistants (14%) smart speakers (14%), fitness monitors (13%), smart lighting (12%) and smart kitchen appliances (12%).

“The lines between our professional and personal lives are blurring and that includes our online behaviors,” said John V. Slamecka, region president EMEA & LATAM, AT&T Business, in a prepared statement. about the remote worker cybersecurity study. “It’s clear that businesses can only protect their networks by mitigating for those behaviors. Cybercriminals are launching cyberattacks at the most vulnerable point – the remote worker. Businesses who initially compromised on cybersecurity to speed up the transition to homeworking are taking a tremendous risk. They must address cyber risks now to provide for business continuity and help protect their workforce and business for the future.”

The AT&T research was based on a survey of workers in Germany and the U.K., but the results in the U.S. likely are similar.

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