On 11th March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the Covid-19, also referred to as the Novel Corona Virus, a global pandemic. The Virus has ever since proved to be one great disaster, destroying lives, bringing economies to their knees, and causing fear and panic across the world. This heat has been felt in almost all countries of the world. Viruses know no borders.
Businesses across the globe have also been hit with these devastating situations. With most governments imposing total lock-downs and businesses advising workers to work from home, the risks of cyber insecurities have increased to extreme levels. Cybercriminals are ever awake to take advantage of any pandemic situation that might give them an excellent opportunity to carry out their malicious activities. The Corona Virus pandemic has not been an exception. Hackers have taken advantage of businesses’ increased dependence on technology. Businesses have already and will (for as long as the pandemic goes on) face cybersecurity challenges due to this state of affairs. This article explains some of these challenges and the possible remedies that can be put in place to combat them.
1. Phishing Frauds Flourishing Because of Fear and Panic
People across the world, including employees of different companies and business owners, are desperately looking for information about Corona Virus. According to research conducted by Purple Sec LLC, 98% of hackers use panic situations and fear to carry out cyberattacks.Hackers have taken this panic situation to their advantage. They are sending phishing emails and creating malicious links, posing to be officials from the World Health Organisation or other relevant health organizations dealing with the Covid-19 menace.
The emails and links will then lure the employees and business owners into giving vital and confidential information about the businesses. The hackers, on acquiring such information, can use it to demolish the image and the entire reputation of the business, which threatens the future of the business.
Dealing with this requires businesses to enlighten employees about the potential phishing risks that have cropped up due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Businesses should also put up measures to combat phishing attempts. Installing an SSL Certificate can work perfectly in such a scenario.
2. Challenges Posed Because of Working From Home
Quarantines, social distancing, and total lock-downs are so far the only remedy that is being used to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Businesses have complied with these measures and have encouraged employees to stay and work from home. As expected, there are a lot of security concerns that have come up because of these measures.
In a scenario where employees and business owners have to use A Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access companies’ networks remotely, a lot of security risks will exist. Sensitive and confidential company data is exposed to hackers. With many businesses resolving to use VPN in order to access their company networks, there has raised network traffic that puts the larger business world in grave danger.
To resolve this, IT personnel has to be on toes to patch installed software regularly.
3. The inability of IT Experts To Remotely Access Various Sites
As noted earlier on, compulsory lock-downs have been imposed to a greater population and are already affecting lives to the majority of the people. IT experts have also been affected. As such, with the majority of the people working from home, in case a security breach arises requiring the services of an IT expert, then it is going to be very hard for it to be rectified. A hacker can successfully break into and steal or distort vital business information without the intervention of a security expert. This can lead to devastating effects that can threaten the continuity of a business.
4. Challenges of Using Unsafe Public Wi-Fi
Those working from home will most probably use unsafe Wi-Fi and internet connectivity. This will pose a considerable security risk to the business as a whole. Cybercriminals can easily hack into such connections and use them to gain access to corporate accounts.
They will use such kind of connection so as to gain unauthorized access into companies’ data and steal crucial information or use it to distort the reputation of a business or carry out other malicious acts. When unencrypted data is transferred using an insecure connection or network, a threat actor can easily intercept and steal the information. The consequences can be so severe.
The best remedy to this is cautioning employees against using insecure public Wi-Fi, especially when they need to access valuable data. Employees should be encouraged to use connections with SSL Certificates during the data transfer process.
5. Insider Threats
An insider threat is a security risk to a business or organization that is caused by the employees and close associates of the business.
With the corona Virus pandemic forcing employees to work from home, employees have gained the freedom to do what they feel like they should do. The reason being that they are not being monitored or under any surveillance like it would be the case if they were working within the organization itself.
For this reason, they can illegally access critical information from the company and end up causing harmful impacts to the company. The major motivation towards this being greed, freedom, and malice. This problem can cause the company to great financial damage. To mitigate such a problem, businesses should foster a robust culture of security awareness among employees. Employees should be warned against accessing data they are not required to access. This will help to combat insider threats that are likely to rise during this global pandemic.
Carrying out regular cyber-security audits is so vital to the businesses. Cyber-security audits will help in the identification of potential cyber-security threats that are being posed to the systems. The business can then take corrective measures that will help the company to mitigate such risks. It is crucial for the business to carry out these network security audits frequently.
With the Corona Virus pandemic, this has not been possible. Those tasked with the responsibility of carrying out such tasks are unable to do so. The reason being that they are in isolation or a lock-down. This then becomes a huge problem for the business. The warning signs that would have been established by the security audits are not discovered. A hacker can then takes advantage of such a situation and carries out a data breach so severe that it can compromise the continuity of the business.
7. Fewer Resources To Recover After An Attack
Corona Virus pandemic has hit world economies so hard. Businesses have made huge losses due to the reduced purchasing powers of the people. With little or no operations going on to sustain the day to day activities of businesses, there is a reason to be paranoid about what might happen in case a cyber-attack is successfully carried out on the venture.
This fact threatens business continuity. This is why it is very important for businesses owners and the management to set up a contingency fund that will be used to bring back the business to its normal operations after a successful cyber-attack is carried out. Doing this will ensure the continuity of the business.
Many businesses are facing cyber-security issues due to the outbreak of the corona-virus pandemic. Cybercriminals have taken advantage of the situation and are exploiting the opportunity to cause havoc. This article explains some of the challenges that cyber insecurity, instigated by the corona-virus pandemic, pose to the businesses. These challenges are a significant threat to the continuity of the businesses. We highly recommend that every business should test and improve on the disaster recovery plan to give the businesses assurance of its continuity long after the corona-virus pandemic has ended.