Remote access solution dates back to 1969 when Telnet protocol was first developed. A couple of decades later, Citrix came into existence to deliver remote access solutions for Windows platforms. With the evolutions of trends and technology PCoIP, RDP, VNC, SSH, XWindows, and others are also added to the list. The benefit of remote access is undoubtedly, the convenience to access the network from anywhere. Implementation of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure mitigates and cuts down the management cost. Remote access is critical for high-performance computing environments.
Remote access, in most companies, is used as a security tool. Organizations are wary of sensitive data being used by employees on their insecure PCs or laptops - Remote access comes to the organizations' rescue to help employees access sensitive data from remote a more secure computer where they can work on the organizations' sensitive data.
Working from home is a common instance to quote, however, there are other scenarios to mention, for instance, organizations do have critical yet confidential operating systems that are kept separate from the prime corporate network. This is to avoid any data loss. So when administrators are in need to access the operational system, they implement remote access platform.
Imagine, an attacker manages to gain access to the end user's machine, they exploit the user's machine to gain remote access with malicious intentions and create a havoc to the organizations' operating system.
The attackers can certainly extract or un-encrypt confidential data from the organization's secure system. Adding to it, they can also scrape off the data by using OCR. Their intentions can be different, the bad guys can also damage or alter the secure systems. To be more precise, the attacker can take up the administrator rights and can do all that the administrator can do to the secure system. They can also use the remote access capability to encrypt the organization's sensitive data and demand them a ransom to unlock the company's files.
Considering all this, organizations take that extra precautions to implement additional authentication steps to ensure secure and genuine user access - like two-factor authentication - where the intended user would enter a two-factor authentication password that expires within a given limited time.
However, hackers find sophisticated methods to bypass the two-factor authentication security measures as well. The attacker waits for the user to log in through the two-factor authentication method and then find ways to hijack the authorized session, from where they can start accessing the corporate secure network. This is much similar to the strategy involved behind "Man in the Browser" attacks that are most commonly used to strike online banking services.
The probability of remote access being vulnerable has always been high. So what can be the best option?
The best option is to use secure endpoints to access the secure corporate system. Users are ignorant about the importance of secure systems. Users might need many endpoint machines - one to access the secure systems, the other to access internet system - that are liable to attacks and the other to access mainstream systems of the corporate network. This is definitely not a healthy working model. Remote Browsing is any day a better option to allow access to insecure systems from a secure endpoint machine. From a security point of view, this stands a better option. When remote browsing is done the right way, it is not possible for the hackers to impose an attack on the endpoint machine.
There are free Remote access softwares available to benefit any organization's demands. Comodo ONE is one of the best options to entitle IT administrators to control desktop applications and servers from remote so they can address the users' issues from the remote.