Cyber attacks today are getting more elaborate with so many different forms and quantities. That’s especially true with Covid-19 period when phishing news pretends to be official announcements, confusing numerous viewers.
Work forms transform due to the impact of Covid-19
The coronavirus has changed the way people work, live and entertain from 2019 onwards, leading to companies and organizations switching over from on-site work to work from home, namely WFH mode to keep businesses going.
Worldwide lockdown upends business operations, sending around 4.7 million works in US worked remotely and the number is expected to grow for social distancing measures and rampant infections. Gallup reported that because of COVID-19 closures, the share of full-time employees working from home has risen from 33% to 61%.
Telecommuting technologies in favor of remote work come in- Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), virtual meeting, cloud technology, collaboration suite, and even facial recognition, allowing people to appear in front of a virtual background, respecting the privacy of the home. Embracing virtual connection remote workers to the workplace is a saving measure for stagnant businesses, but employers may overlook crisis hidden beneath the salvation-cyberattacks on the way. Individuals working from home do not have the same amount of inherent protection/deterrent mechanisms as those working in a workplace.
Cyber security issues originate from the pandemic
In a survey conducted by Tessian, nearly 47% of workers in the computer field have clicked on a phishing email at work and average cost of a data breach from remote working reached as much as $137,000. Cybercriminals see the virus as a chance to carry out criminal activities by taking advantage of the susceptibility of employees working from home and leveraging on people’s significant interest in coronavirus-related news, such as malicious websites posing as trusted organizations (magazines, news press) or individuals.
The IC3 received 847,376 internet crime reports in total, a 7% increase over 2020 but an astonishing 81 percent increase over 2019, owing primarily to the COVID epidemic. And it is the main character of nearly 16.5 million threats and attacks according to a report from Trend Micro, a cybersecurity company. Over 20% of cyberattacks employed previously unknown malware or tactics prior to the epidemic, but that number surged to 35% during the pandemic.
Beware of the new cyber attacks
Emails disguised as government announcements
Malicious factors like fraud e-mails or phishing sites are sending messages with images and hyper clicks to lure people into a trap with titles like “see the latest cyberattacks report from FBI” or “WHO anti-coronavirus tips” “covid-19” related. The key is to exploit the curiosity and anxiety that people feel about the global pandemic to elicit interaction.
Malware embed in coronavirus websites and messages
Cybercriminals are using the coronavirus’s vast worldwide communications to conceal their operations. Malware, spyware, and Trojan horses have been discovered on interactive coronavirus websites and infection tracking maps. Real-time infection maps have been spotted as the epidemic spread. Thousands of coronavirus-related domains registered monthly and the chances of them being malicious are 50% more likely than others. While spam emails also prevail on consumers to click on links that install malware on their PC or mobile devices.
How do we prevent Covid-19 cyberthreats?
Cyberattacks abound in numbers and types. Middleman attack, a cyber intruder who disrupts traffic and steals data; DoS attacks, denial of service overloads resources and bandwidth to disable the system; and SQL injection means an attacker uses SQL to inject malicious code into a server. Not to mention cross-site scripting, rootkits, password attack and the like. Therefore, we might as well pay attention to cyberattacks as a whole but also watch out the new Covid-19 related cybercrimes. So, how to prevent cyber crimes? Following procedures are meant to prepare for the worst for you.
Put a high value on the measures against cyber threats. Leaders should work with IT security teams to identify the potential attack vectors for employees working from home and set up a whole procedure on protecting critical sensitive information.
Familiarize workers with guidance. Make sure the remote work polices, including the recognition, steps to tackle with internet threats and communication with security teams, are clear and easy to flow.
Offer proper security protections. It’s is very critical for remote work environment to equip homebound staff with best security practices for devices owned or managed by companies. Practices are comprised of safe connection to business cloud and on-premise applications, endpoint protection on all devices and ability to block malware, exploits and malicious domains.
Audit cybersecurity regularly. Conduct regular cybersecurity audits on network vulnerabilities, operation, system and data risks that companies face. In this way the companies know thoroughly likely threats and match with actions.
Update and patch software system. The system itself can be an entrance to criminal activities cyber criminals because of its loopholes. This is the very reason why system vendors provide regular updates for customers-to defend ever-changing cyber attacks.
Install Next-Generation Firewalls. A Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) is a cyber security device with capabilities beyond typical stateful firewalls. Malware, ransomware and SQL injection can be prevented through NGFW. It also detects and denies system intrusions according to known attacks.
Backup critical data. A comprehensive backup plan saves your business data from the embarrassment of data stealing, misplacing or compromising. The cybercriminals don’t always return data after ransomware payment. And it can sever the business continuity. To establish an effective BDR pl an, a virtual machine backup software with comprehensive backup and restore functionalities can usually help on that.
Use strong passwords with multi-factor authentication. Passwords are easily overlooked by corporations when it comes to cybersecurity. Using strong passwords with combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters for different accounts still matters and should be updated periodically. Multi-factor authentication needs different forms of identification to gain access to the website or system involved. They can prevent unwanted users from visiting.
Get cyber security insurance. Cyber insurance reduces losses from incidents like data theft and breaches, DDoS attacks, hacks and ransom demands. It covers a wide range of cyber risks and cleans up the ensuing mess such as customer reparations, legal defense and other expenditures. But cyber risk insurance should complement the other ways as part of a cybersecurity plan.
To wrap up
Cyberattacks tend to be more complex and diverse as time changes. Especially as pandemic spreads, its new forms come to the fore. However, with strong Hyper-V backup, overall cybersecurity plans and precaution measures, those threats can be eliminated and even prevented. So, prepare now or you could be caught off guard when accidents occur.