The COVID-19 pandemic remains fresh in our memories as it affected many aspects of our lives. Cyberspace is no exception. With the imperative need to stay safe, individuals had to create alternate methods to work, school, communicate and access services. However, this period also saw cybercriminals double their efforts to exploit the situation.
The 2020 internet crime report records over $4.2 billion loss associated with cybercrimes. The most reported crimes are phishing attacks and extortion. COVID-19 didn’t just threaten lives it also threatened cybersecurity—the latter hasn’t changed much since the pandemic.
Consequently, companies risk operational and financial losses when they do not plan and protect themselves from possible cyberattacks. In this article, we analyze the impact of COVID-19 on Cybersecurity and discuss evidence-proven methods to ensure online security and privacy.
The Transition to Digital Working after COVID-19
Digital transformation involves embracing digital technology in many aspects of organizational operations. Despite the steady increase in the adoption of digital technology, COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation. To maintain productivity, businesses had to adapt and grow in the digital space.
As of today, going digital has become a necessity for many businesses to meet the ever-evolving demands of consumers. Also, it is necessary to create a pandemic-proof plan across industries to maintain efficiency.
Cyber Threat to small and medium businesses
Cybercrime has been around for a long time. However, the pandemic brought about a spike in these practices. Contrary to the popular belief that only large-scale businesses are affected, cyber threats affect Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). According to the 2018 State of SMB Cybersecurity by Keeper and Ponemon, small businesses make up 67% of cybercrime victims. The lack of effective cyber security strategies is to blame.
Phishing is a form of online fraud in which criminals pretend to be trusted or reputable individuals to trick their victims into revealing vital and personal information. Such details include credit card details, social security numbers, birthdays, residential addresses, login details, etc. Based on the target and medium used, Phishing attacks can be classified as follows:
● Spear Phishing
Adversaries target phishing emails at specific individuals or companies to steal information or install malware.
● Whale Phishing
Whaling is a more targeted form of spear phishing. Here, the targets are usually business owners or influential individuals.
● Smishing and Vishing
Smishing is done via text messages, while Vishing is accomplished through voice calls or audio messages.
Malware is short for malicious software. It encompasses various software or programs intended to steal, exploit, infect or harm devices and networks.
Here, malware can be used to lock or encrypt the victim’s files until the victim pays a ransom to recover them. Adversaries achieve this through phishing emails. Businesses risk losing files or a considerable amount of money to these attacks.
Preparing Employees for possible cyberattacks
In addition to data privacy implications, companies risk significant financial losses.
Therefore, regardless of size, businesses should prepare for possible cyber attacks. Here are some tips to stay ahead in cyberspace:
Invest in cyber security tools and personnel
Investing in cybersecurity starts with ensuring all company software is up-to-date. Regular software updates are an easy and cost-effective way of preventing cyber attacks. Operating systems offer regular updates to keep up with ever-changing cyber attack strategies. It closes some of the loopholes through which scammers can gain access.
Implement Multifactor Authentication (MFAs)
MFAs provide an extra layer of security against cyber attacks. In addition to conventional passwords, MFAs require other details unique to the authorized user. It makes it more difficult for hackers to access important files.
Backups are good, especially in cases of ransomware attacks. It is advisable to have multiple secure copies of valuable documents online and offline.
Regular reminders and cybersecurity training for employees
Set up drills and emergency exercises for your employees. Enlighten them on ways to identify attacks, protect against them and keep up with new trends in cyber security.
Four ways how companies can overcome cybersecurity crises
A breach can be devastating for businesses. However, time waits for no man. It is pertinent to regain normalcy and carry on as soon as possible. Here are ways to overcome cyber security crises.
Use your cyber insurance plan
It is also known as cyber-liability insurance. It protects businesses from cyber attacks and breaches and helps pay the losses incurred.
Switch to safe Back-Ups
It is vital to use secure backups as some can be compromised. Make a habit of regularly backing up data in multiple and safe locations.
Assess cyber security strategies
Make a critical and objective assessment of your current security strategies. Find the loopholes and adjust accordingly. Also, seek the help of an expert in assessing and updating cyber security strategies to limit the damage.
Adjust to a business continuity plan
Create and update a business continuity plan. Depending on the extent of the damage, implement measures to continue operations. Some of these might include limiting emails, using more paperwork, etc.
Cybercrime cases have skyrocketed since the pandemic began. Data loss, lawsuits, loss of partners or clients, and financial losses are a few consequences of cyber attacks.
As a result, cyber-attacks in the post-pandemic environment must be minimized and prevented. And as you must have inferred from our discussion thus far, cyber-awareness is a good starting point but it is just the first step. Take action.