Cybersecurity takes new meaning after COVID-19

Cybercriminals around the world are capitalizing on the COVID-19 crisis. Cyber attacks have sought to exploit the vulnerability of employees working from home. Scammers are abusing people’s strong interest in coronavirus-related news. Here is a look at using cybersecurity and common sense to safeguard ourselves.

Cyber threats since COVID-19

According to Deloitte, there has been a spike in phishing attacks, malspams, and ransomware attacks. Fraudsters are using COVID-19-related topics as bait. Many are impersonating well-known brands to mislead employees and customers. In April 2020 Deloitte cyber threat intelligence discovered 2 phishing campaigns and 1 malware that employed COVID-19-themed lures. These phishing campaigns impersonated well-known organizations including FedEx, DHL, and UPS. Victims were tricked into downloading ransomware disguised as legitimate files. There has also been an increase in the number of phishing and malware attacks on healthcare facilities and the unemployed. At the end of 2020, a large Luxembourg PSF (professional of the financial sector) was hit by hackers, causing significant disruption.

Magnitude of the menace

CNBC reported in 2020 that a Twitter breach targeted 130 accounts including the accounts of former presidents and Fortune 100 CEOs. This breach resulted in attackers swindling EUR 100,000 in Bitcoin through nearly 300 transactions. According to the Supply Chain Resilience 2020 Report from 3D Hubs, cybersecurity issues affected less than 10% of firms over the past 10 years. However since COVID-19 this has shot up to 60%. A study by CrowdStrike, a Silicon Valley cybersecurity vendor, found something similar. It reported that there were more intrusion attempts on corporate networks in the first 6 months of 2020 than in all of 2019. Many organizations are now concerned about security issues related to their employees’ personal devices which access corporate networks and data. Cloud-based systems and data also need better protection.

E-trade For All said that more countries have formulated national cybersecurity strategies, national plans, response teams, and specific legislation to counter the online threats. The UK tops the list of countries most committed to cybersecurity, followed by the US, France, Lithuania, and Estonia.

The risks

2021 statistics reveal a sizable increase in hacked and breached data from sources that are increasingly common in the workplace. These include mobile phones and IoT devices. Cybersecurity company Varonis listed some industry trends to watch for in 2021 and beyond.

  • Remote workers will continue to be a target for cybercriminals.
  • Cloud breaches will increase as remote workforces expand.
  • The cybersecurity skills gap will remain an issue for the foreseeable future.
  • Better bandwidth on 5G networks will make IoT devices more vulnerable to cyber attacks.

A Gartner publication reported that the worldwide information security market in 2018 was EUR 95 billion. By 2022 it will expand to EUR 142 billion. Most large organizations are bolstering their defences against cyber threats. In September 2017, Equifax announced that it had experienced a breach compromising the data of 143 million US consumers. The Equifax breach cost the company over EUR 3 billion. IBM stated that as of 2020 the average cost of a data breach is EUR 3.22 million. Accenture calculated that the average cost of a malware attack is EUR 2.2 million. In January 2021 Cyber Security magazine said that cybercriminals use newly implemented technologies to try and penetrate corporate systems. Damage from cybercrime is projected to hit EUR 9 trillion annually by 2025.

Being safe

It is crucial for organizations to work closely with security experts. They can help identify the threats and prevent breaches. According to a, big organisations are increasing their cybersecurity spending. This is the top IT priority this year. 55% of all major corporations will invest more on automation solutions as well.

Steve Durbin, managing director of the Information Security Forum stated that it would be extremely short-sighted for business leaders to reduce cybersecurity staff or budgets. Now is the time when a majority of the workforce is critically dependent on secure networks.

Digital security professionals

A survey of more than 300 cybersecurity professionals from ISSA (Information Systems Security Association) found that 70% of organizations report being impacted by a worker shortage. 45% said that the cybersecurity skills shortage and its associated impacts have only gotten worse in recent years. In Luxembourg the average pay for a Cyber Security Engineer is EUR 121,000 per year. LUX is home to vast communities of migrant professionals. They regularly send remittances to support their families back home via the Ria Money Transfer App and other channels. Market demand and average salaries for cybersecurity professionals are projected to grow. Cybercrime Magazine stated that there was a 350% growth in open cybersecurity positions from 2013 to 2021. By 2021 most large organizations worldwide will have a CISO (chief information security officer) position.

About the author:- Hemant G is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.