LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Working from home provided a new gateway for cyber thieves in the first few months of the pandemic, with the FBI reporting a 400% increase in cyberattacks.

Lieutenant Allen Larsen describes how vulnerable smaller businesses can be when it comes to these types of attacks.

“Especially for a lot of these smaller businesses these Mom and Pop shops, they’re using what is called, remote desktop protocol,” Lt. Larsen said.

This means some businesses set up a pipeline to use your home computer to remote into your work computer.

“The problem with that is if you don’t have the right firewalls in place, which most businesses don’t….it really is easy for hackers and ransomware thieves to be able to compromise the network,” Lt. Larsen added.

Inadequate cyber security can be addressed by firewalls and anti-virus scanning. But, rushed or distracted employees make mistakes.

One wrong click can threaten the digital safety of a company, as thieves intercept communications to get at the privileged content of accounting and client data.

“Once these cyber thieves have your personal identifying information, it’s really easy for them to own your identity, and destroy your life financially,” he tells 8 News Now.

Another issue can be the speedy development of apps. Some might not have reinforcements in place, to keep users safe.

“Generally speaking, if you go with some larger name companies, they’re generally investing more of their money into having that…..what we call I-T Security infrastructure,” Lt. Larsen added.

That is having good firewalls and strong mechanisms in place. If employees are working with names, dates of birth, confidential financial data, experts say that still might be best done inside the walls of the office.

“And not be sharing that via email or as attachments or things like that where it’s easier to be intercepted by cyber thieves,” he said.

One-quarter of all employees have noticed an increase in fraudulent emails, spam, phishing attempts in their work email since the beginning of COVID shutdowns.

Two years later, some are still working from home, which means cyber security professionals are still greatly needed.

“Cyber security is one of the fastest-growing fields, and a lot of employers, both public sector and private sector they can’t even fill the spots fast enough,” Lt. Larsen added.