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Cybersecurity checklist from Kaspersky

To help stressed IT security managers prioritize, we put together some cybersecurity action items for businesses.



March 2020 may be remembered as the day the world went on lockdown because of the pandemic. In Southeast Asia, the rushed transition to work from home and then partially back to the office a year later turned to what people now embrace as the new norm. The hybrid work setup isn’t entirely new, but employees now want to stick to it. At the same time, companies have come to accept it after it proved to have worked fairly well for two years. 

Unfortunately, cybercriminals thought it worked to their advantage, too. With tons of valuable data employees bring with them on their devices, it could have felt like the best time for these cyber thugs who found themselves effortlessly stealing from their easy prey.

In 2020, there was an increase globally in the number of people using remote access tools such as remote desktop protocol or RDP, one of the most popular application-level protocols for accessing Windows workstations or servers. It also allows access to other device resources and RDP clients are available for all the most used modern OS such as iOS, OS X, Linux, Unix, and even Android. 

Originally designed as a remote administration tool, cybercriminals use RDP to penetrate the target computer by exploiting incorrectly configured settings or vulnerabilities such as weak passwords. Hacking an RDP connection is lucrative for cybercriminals.

In the same year, there were about 147,565,037 remote desktop protocol (RDP) attack attempts against users of Kaspersky in Southeast Asia. When the workforce slowly started going hybrid in 2021, the RDP attack attempts went up a bit to 149,003,835. It was in 2022 when the pandemic restrictions were lifted and by that time, the RDP attempts spiraled down to 75,855,129 or a plunge of -49% from the previous year. 

“Among our post-pandemic learnings is that flexibility, agility and openness are important to our sustainability and productivity in business. We are still evolving. Part of this evolution is the resounding desire of the workforce in Southeast Asia to stay within the hybrid setup, which boils down to our need for connection and empowerment as humans and we need to acknowledge that,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.

“Part of listening to what the workforce is asking of us is providing options and support within the cybersecurity framework for their safe return to office work in any form. For companies, you will still have to use technology to drive productivity and it will remain this way as things get more and more sophisticated in the business space,” Yeo added.  

For the employed, switching to working from home has been difficult enough. After getting used to this setup for two years, returning to the office may just be as tricky. Companies are in the same predicament — rolling back some changes would mean jumping through hoops again like how they did when they deployed these in 2020. 

To help stressed IT security managers prioritize, we put together some cybersecurity action items for businesses:

Keep work-from-home cybersecurity workarounds

Whether your workforce is returning from home to office or requires work-related travel, using virtual private network (VPN) and an advanced endpoint and detection response (EDR) solution will ensure their safe return to on-site work. Kaspersky Extended Detection and Response or XDR is a multi-layered security technology that protects IT infrastructure. Whereas EDR focuses on endpoints, XDR focuses more broadly on multiple security control points to detect threats more quickly, using deep analytics and automation. XDR creates security efficiencies by improving detection and response capabilities through unifying visibility and control across endpoints, network, and cloud. It facilitates advanced investigation and threat hunting capabilities across multiple domains from a single console. 

Restore any security controls you disabled for remote workers

To allow remote employees to connect to the corporate network, especially from personal devices, some organizations weakened or disabled cybersecurity controls such as Network Admission Control (NAC). NAC checks computers for compliance with corporate security requirements, such as up-to-date malware protection before granting access to the corporate network. Upon employees’ return to the office, NAC should be turned on to protect the internal systems in case the machines pose any risks. Organizations need to anticipate such issues and have a plan that includes resources, deadlines, bug fixes, and maybe even help from IT integrators. 

Update internal systems

Don’t forget to check internal critical services. The IT security team needs to know if there are any unpatched servers in the building before letting anyone in. With everyone returning to the office and connecting their laptops to the corporate network at once, just one unpatched domain controller can provide broad access to, for example, employee account data and passwords. 

Get ready to save — and also to pay

Bringing employees back to the office may save employers some money. Companies can reduce the number of subscription-based cloud solutions or licenses, such as for video conferencing or electronic signature to bring some services back as local resources. Consider spending those freed-up budgets on organizing digital workstations so that employees can split their weeks between office and elsewhere. Remote work technologies like virtual desktops are much easier to deploy, manage, fix, and protect than remote computers. 

Save the tools and settings that employees used remotely

Thanks to their pandemic experience, employees have mastered new communication and collaboration tools for chats, videoconferencing, planning, CRM, and others. If those tools worked well, employees will want to continue using them. In fact, 74% of Kaspersky’s survey respondents said they want more flexible and comfortable work conditions. Companies should be prepared either to approve new services or to suggest and defend alternatives. Dedicated solutions can help organizations manage access to cloud services and enforce associated security policies. IT security should be a business enabler, not a barrier.  

For SMBs and midrange enterprises, Kaspersky in Southeast Asia also has launched a Buy 1 Free 1 promo. Businesses can now enjoy two years of enterprise-grade endpoint protection for the price of 1 with Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business or Cloud or Kaspersky Endpoint Detection and Response Optimum, with 24×7 phone support. Interested customers can reach out to  


Visual design of product can hold symbolic meanings to consumers – study

Simplicity of the product package aligns with consumers’ default assumption that store brands invest less in product quality. Thus, the simplicity of store brand packaging likely signals a lack of investment in the product rather than few ingredients and product purity.



Researchers from Texas Christian University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and University of Georgia published a new Journal of Marketing article that examines the consumer trend towards minimalist packaging in consumable products.

The study, forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing, is titled “Symbolically Simple: How Simple Packaging Design Influences Willingness to Pay for Consumable Products” and is authored by Lan Anh N. Ton, Rosanna K. Smith, and Julio Sevilla.

Designing products is both an art and a science. Companies have found that bringing together many visual elements in product design—with multiple colors, text, and illustrations incorporated in the packaging—can lead to enhanced brand engagement. However, in the last few years, consumers have increasingly desired more minimalist aesthetics.

The new Journal of Marketing study examines this consumer trend toward minimalist packaging in consumable products. The research team theorizes that consumers tend to assume that the simplicity of the product package suggests that the product contains few ingredients, which in turn increases perceived product purity, defined as the belief that the essential ingredients of the product are undiluted. With customers increasingly seeking product purity, there is an increase in a willingness to pay for consumable products with simple packaging.

The study defines simple packaging design as the extent to which a product package contains few design elements, which lack detail, are similar to one another, and are arranged in regular ways. Complex packaging design refers to the extent to which a product package contains many design elements that are highly detailed, different from one another, and arranged in irregular ways.

The researchers examined over 1,000 consumable product packages from the largest supermarket chain in the U.S. and find that the simplicity of the packaging design is positively associated with price. As Ton explains, “in a series of experiments, we show that the visual design of a product can hold symbolic meanings to consumers. Specifically, although there is no information about the product’s composition on the package, we find that consumers assume that the simplicity of the product package signals that there are few ingredients within, which enhances perceived product purity.”

However, simple packaging does not always enhance consumers’ willingness to pay. Smith says, “we find that store-brand products are not likely to experience the same benefits of simple packaging as non-store brand products. This is likely because the simplicity of the product package aligns with consumers’ default assumption that store brands invest less in product quality. Thus, the simplicity of store brand packaging likely signals a lack of investment in the product rather than few ingredients and product purity.”

Sevilla adds that “we also find the preference for simple packaging depends on consumers’ goals. When consumers have a health goal, they are more likely to pay for a product with simple packaging. This is because simple packaging conveys that the product contains few ingredients and high product purity, attributes that tend to be associated with healthy products. By contrast, when consumers seek to indulge, they are less willing to pay for products with simple packaging. This is because complex packaging signals many ingredients and low product purity, attributes that tend to be associated with unhealthy and, by extension, tasty products.”

This research extends the understanding of consumer interest in minimalist aesthetics by showing conditions under which design simplicity can be less desirable. Visual simplicity often conveys the idea of “less is more,” but there are situations when it can simply signal “less is less.” It also broadens the understanding of the concept of purity in the context of consumer research. While explicit illustrations, such as a drawing of a mountain spring, can enhance consumer judgments of product purity, product purity can be inferred from more subtle visual cues (or even the lack of visual design elements). Relatedly, the study digs into the concept of product purity, which can hold a variety of meanings, and differentiates purity from its related construct of naturalness, which typically refers to products that are not man-made.

This research provides several insights for chief marketing officers:

  • Simplifying package design can be an effective way for brands to visually (and nonverbally) communicate key product information to consumers. Simple packaging can lead consumers to infer that the product has fewer ingredients and is purer—thereby enhancing their willingness to pay.
  • Aligning the visual design of the product package with ingredient information is essential to make a positive impact on consumers.
  • Managers may consider the specific brand when using simple packaging because positive inferences are less likely to occur for store-brand products.
  • When managers want to signal that their products are indulgent, opting for more complex designs could be more effective.

This work could be extended to durable goods such as technology products. For instance, Apple products are well-known for their simple packaging and are often seen as easier to use than their competitors. It may be fruitful to explore how inferences derived from simple packaging of technology products align or differ from those of consumable goods.

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Pictograms sometimes have an additional benefit: Inducing optimism

If the same icons are grouped together in the pictogram, a consumer will feel more favorably and exhibit an optimism bias about their own chances.



Sometimes, how the information is presented is as important as the information itself. Graphics, icons, and pictograms are increasingly popular methods of presenting information to consumers in direct, memorable, and easily understandable ways.

A team of researchers led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Gaurav Jain, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing in the Lally School of Management, found that pictograms sometimes have an additional benefit: inducing optimism.

In research recently published, Jain and his colleagues found that frequency pictograms, which convey proportions and probabilities, induce optimism in consumers when they are presented in a sorted way. In other words, if the same icons are grouped together in the pictogram, a consumer will feel more favorably and exhibit an optimism bias about their own chances.

The findings contribute to the field of attribute framing, which refers to highlighting characteristics in a positive or negative light. For example, a consumer may be more inclined to purchase an item marked as $10 off of $30 rather than one marked as $20. Previous research has focused on textual rather than pictorial attribute framing. Since frequency pictograms are “the most common graphical representations of quantitative information,” Jain’s research has potentially wide applications.

“Sorted verses unsorted pictograms should be used strategically, depending on whether the messaging is promotional or prohibitive. If eight out of 10 dentists endorse a toothpaste, for example, a sorted pictogram would make consumers feel favorably about the toothpaste. However, when depicting that 8% of children alive today will die if current smoking trends continue, an unsorted pictogram would be appropriate,” Jain said.

“Dr. Jain’s research provides valuable insights for communicators,” said Chanaka Edirisinghe, Ph.D., acting dean of Rensselaer’s Lally School of Management. “It also opens the door to explore further possibilities. How does more than two categories represented in the pictogram affect the findings? What role does the number of icons, their size, or using multiple colors within one icon to show fractional proportions play? With this research, Dr. Jain adds to our understanding of people’s perceptions according to how information is presented.”

Jain was joined in research by Sunaina Shrivastava of Manhattan College and Zeynep Ece Tolun of Rensselaer.

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5 Ways to support underappreciated professionals

You can show your appreciation for deserving workers such as your favorite school custodians or office maintenance staff members in numerous ways, including these suggestions.



Unsung heroes make everyday living possible. They work behind the scenes and tackle some of the most demanding work imaginable, such as maintaining facilities and keeping them in tip-top condition.

You can show your appreciation for deserving workers such as your favorite school custodians or office maintenance staff members in numerous ways, including these suggestions from Rubbermaid Commercial Products, supporters of cleaning and maintenance professionals nationwide.

Write Thank You Notes

In today’s digital world, handwritten notes are a novelty. The times may be changing, but the impression a thoughtful handwritten message leaves behind hasn’t changed at all. Keep a supply of blank notecards so you can offer notes to those who make a difference in your life. The sentiments don’t need to be long; a simple expression of gratitude is enough to brighten someone’s day.

Participate in Appreciation Events

You might receive information from local schools or businesses about opportunities to support maintenance staff, such as hosting meals or helping with cleanup in classrooms or offices. Finding opportunities to support underappreciated custodial staff can allow community members to show thanks in meaningful ways.

For example, Rubbermaid Commercial Products is hosting a Behind the Scenes of Clean Campaign this fall to elevate, recognize and thank cleaning and facility maintenance professionals who are among the first to arrive for work each day. The campaign includes more than 40 events globally where community members can engage with and personally thank custodians who are making an everyday difference behind the scenes.

Recognize Milestones

Often, those in custodial roles blend into the fabric of everyday life. They’re rarely the focal point of celebrations, but often make it possible for others to honor special occasions. Make a point to know about the underappreciated professionals in your life, so you can recognize events like birthdays, work anniversaries and other dates that hold special personal meaning.

Do Your Part

Think about what small steps you can take to make unsung heroes’ jobs easier. That might mean picking up after yourself or cleaning up a mess in your workspace. It could involve wiping down your table after lunch. Little gestures can add up to a big difference.

Lead By Example

You don’t need to wait for others to join you in recognizing workers whose impacts are made behind the scenes. Speaking up and taking action can serve as a positive example for those around you. You can even take the lead and organize an effort to recognize individuals who rarely receive thanks, such as the custodian at your office or the janitorial team at your favorite retailer.

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