Snynet Solution Logo
MON - SUN: 10 AM - 6 PM
+60 11 5624 8319


Hackers are using home office selfies to steal your personal data

Image Description

The pandemic has been the source of plenty of memes and new internet trends, not least the remote working selfie, which involves people taking photos of their home office setup or video conferencing sessions.

However, a new blog post from security firm Sophos suggests cybercriminals are capitalizing on this new genre of selfie to steal a range of personal data that could be used to execute identity or financial fraud.

Unbeknownst to many, there are a variety of different ways that remote working selfies can expose personal information. For example, package labels in the background of photos could betray the person’s home address, while posters on the wall could reveal information about the individual’s hobbies that could be used to crack security questions.

Images of virtual birthday parties held over Zoom or Teams, meanwhile, could be used to narrow down dates of birth and collect the names of friends and family members.

According to Dr. Jason Nurse, Associate Professor of Cybersecurity at the University of Kent, who authored the blog post, “the variety of information that may be exposed in such contexts is endless”.

Remote working security

While the desire to share remote working experiences with others is perfectly natural, given the isolation imposed upon us in the past twelve months, remote working selfies have provided yet another way for hackers to capitalize on the pandemic.

The trend has also spawned a selection of new social media hashtags - such as #WorkFromHome, #RemoteWork and #HomeOffice - that can be used to isolate content that may contain useful nuggets of information, making the lives of criminals even easier.

“Fraudsters, scammers and other cybercriminals love when we share information about our lives, personal, or work-related, openly online,” wrote Nurse.

“While the sharing of [home office selfies] may seem harmless and even a must-do at the time, the reality is that we are, once again, falling into the age-old trap of oversharing online and overlooking the risks.”

And it’s not just personal information at risk; the remote working selfie is also responsible for leaking all manner of sensitive corporate data too.

“Analysis of images of home-working environments has revealed work email inboxes, internal emails, names of colleagues, private web pages, software installed on computers [and more],” Nurse added.

To ensure your social media posts don’t expose any sensitive or personal data, Nurse claims it’s important to be mindful of what’s in the background of your photos, to use a virtual or blurred background during video calls and to think twice before using popular remote working hashtags.


07 Mar 2021



Other Blog

  • Microsoft sees the future of work as truly hybrid

    Hybrid work is 'the biggest shift in work in a generation', Microsoft says.

    Read More
  • The latest Microsoft Teams update is like something straight out of Black Mirror

    Microsoft is working on an update for collaboration platform Teams that, although seemingly well-intentioned, could create a way for businesses to track the performance of employees.

    The company is developing new functionality for the Praise app in Microsoft Teams, which is supposed to provide an avenue for employees to exchange thanks and pat one another on the back for tasks well done.

    Currently, that’s as far as the application goes. However, according to a post in the Microsoft product roadmap, Teams users will soon be able to access a history of the praise they have sent and received. This history will extend back six months and can be viewed via the Viva Insights application for Teams.

    The update is still under development, but will reportedly roll out to all Teams users by the end of November.

    A worrying new trend?

    With the rise of remote working during the pandemic, businesses have sought new ways to celebrate the good work of employees, in lieu of an in-person thank you or shout-out.

    However, many companies have also looked for ways to monitor the performance of remote employees. And it’s easy to imagine how the upcoming update could create opportunities for the Praise app to be used for these purposes, whether this is Microsoft’s intention or not.

    In theory, the new praise history feature could provide administrators with a running tally of positive feedback received by each of their employees. While this isn’t a particularly scientific way of identifying the best performers, the information could at least highlight the employees least likely to earn praise from managers and peers.

    The app stops well short of assigning each team member with a score or star-rating - a terrifying concept explored in season three of TV series Black Mirror - but could potentially be used as a crude proxy for such a system. It’s worth noting that it is possible for administrators to disable the Praise app entirely, but not the praise history feature in isolation.

    TechRadar Pro has asked Microsoft for comment on the potential for the Praise app to be used as an employee monitoring tool, and for clarification over which staff will have access to praise history data.

    Read More
  • Zoom Escaper give you the perfect excuse to bail out of your next video call

    A new tool will help you ‘self-sabotage’ your audio stream and make a speedy escape from your next Zoom call.

    Read More
  • Windows 11 isn’t even out yet, but Microsoft claims it’s already hugely popular

    Windows 11 is likely sparking curiosity for a number of reasons, including some of the controversy around the OS.

    Read More

Find Out More About Us

Want to hire best people for your project? Look no further you came to the right place!

Contact Us