The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on the cybersecurity landscape. According to a 2020 survey by CSO, 61 percent of IT and security leaders reported that they are concerned about an increase in cyberattacks targeting employees working from home. With data breaches and cyberattacks on the rise in all industries, and remote work now the norm, businesses must take the initiative to protect confidential information from digital intruders.
COVID-19 Has Prompted a New Wave of Cyber Attacks
It is not uncommon for hackers to prey on victims following any type of disaster or high-profile event. These continuous threats have changed the workforce on a global level. Cyberattacks come in many forms, from malicious domains and malware to ransomware attacks and phishing scams. Below is a closer look at some of the cyber threats that have become more frequent since the start of COVID-19.
Ransomware is Becoming More Prominent
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and threatens to block access or publish the victim’s data unless the ransom is paid. There has been an uptick in ransomware due to pandemic-related lures. Some of the most recent ransomware attacks have lured in victims with information about masks or vaccines, offered free downloads for technology solutions or promised financial aid during the economic shutdown.
Phishing Emails are Appearing More Trustworthy
Phishing refers to the fraudulent attempt to acquire sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords or credit card details. This is achieved when the hacker poses as a trustworthy entity.
Cyber criminals are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to trick users into clicking on malicious email links or passwords.
Malware Is Leading to More Beaches
Malware is any type of software that was intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, client, server or network. There are many different types of malware, such as computer viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spyware, rogue software and adware. When individuals accidentally download malware to their systems, they can encounter harm that makes the system unreliable.
How to Combat Cybersecurity Threats During COVID-19
Cybersecurity threats can have a devastating impact on businesses. Data loss, corrupted files and other costly incidents can result in extensive downtime and can cause a business to lose their customers’ trust. It is important for businesses to learn ways to effectively combat cybersecurity threats during COVID-19.
Improve Staff Member Awareness
Staff members should always be aware of the possibility of a cyberattack and know the proper steps to take to avoid these security events. Employees should be well trained on how to spot a phishing email, avoid suspicious downloads, use good browsing practices, create strong passwords and only obtain information from trusted websites. Business leaders should conduct mandatory and ongoing cybersecurity training to increase awareness of threats and mitigate risk.
Ensure Proper Spam Filtering
It is important for employees to use antivirus software and other protective tools that act as a barrier from cyberattacks. Even when employees are working from home, their computers should be equipped with antivirus and antispyware, and should also be updated regularly. All software vendors provide regular patches and updates for their products to improve functionality and correct security issues.
Conduct Full and Partial Backups Regularly
Regularly conducting partial or full backups of business data can help protect against major loss if a business should experience an unexpected cyberattack. Restoring from a backup is a more reliable, and often less expensive, option than handing over money to criminals in exchange for an encryption key. However, it is important for the backups to be comprehensive and up-to-date.
Review Our Cybersecurity Checklist for 2021.
Business leaders must take proactive steps to protect their organizations from cyber incidents. Organizations should go step by step through the cybersecurity checklist to ensure that their business is protected in 2021.
Speak with a Professional Cybersecurity Consulting Firm
Business leaders cannot anticipate cyberattacks, but they can prepare for these types of threats. COVID-19 is expected to continue impacting the cybersecurity landscape for the foreseeable future, which means that organizations are still at risk. To learn more about how to ward off cybersecurity threats during COVID-19 or to speak with a professional cybersecurity consulting firm, contact Hartman Executive Advisors today.