COVID-19 Smashes Cybersecurity Records
Many companies were unprepared for the new way of working that has resulted from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. With most employees working remotely, the pandemic has made it difficult for companies to maintain security and stability.
Holden Watne, who provides IT services in Los Angeles with GenIX shares his insights into the world of cybersecurity and COVID19.
With companies facing low profits, forced to cut down costs, and the possibility of a looming closure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fear and uncertainty have led companies to get distracted when it comes to their cybersecurity.
According to a study conducted by Iomart, a cloud computing company, large-scale data breaches are growing in frequency and intensity in 2020, with the number of breaches increasing by 273% in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same time last year. WHO also reported a drastic increase in the number of cyber-attacks directed at its staff and email scams targeting the public at large.
A survey was conducted to find out the impact COVID-19 has had on the cyber-attack landscape. This survey involved more than 1000 respondents from the U.K, Singapore, Italy, and the United States. The survey reported that 88% of U.S cybersecurity professionals said attack volumes have increased as more employees work remotely. 89% said their organizations had experienced cyberattacks linked to COVID-19 malware.
NormShield researchers looked for websites using the names of commonly used drugs over the last several months. They found a dramatic spike in the number of sites generated to get the attention of scared shoppers looking for a coronavirus cure. According to research by McAfee, the United States comes second to Spain among countries that have malicious detections. They also reported that the United States had the most publicly-disclosed security incidents during the first quarter of 2020 compared to other countries.
Specialist insurer Beazley reported an increase of 25% in ransomware attacks in the United States during the first quarter of 2020 compared to the last quarter of 2019. The industries that have mainly been affected by the attacks are the manufacturing, financial services, and the healthcare sector. According to them, the increase in cyber-attacks during the pandemic’s peak is mainly due to the reduced vigilance of the American population due to the anxiety generated by the health situation. The reduced level of IT security is also a factor that aggregated the risks.
These attacks include:
- Phishing for data access
- Email attachments containing malware
- Reference links to websites that are infected with malware
- Fake landing pages allegedly showing the latest Coronavirus infection rates
From the impact of the COVID-19 survey, these are the key findings from the supplemental United States survey:
- 89% said they had been targeted by COVID-19 related malware
- The inability to institute multi-factor authentication (MFA) was reported as the most significant security risk to businesses during COVID-19
- 83% reported gaps in disaster planning around communication with external parties, including prospects, partners, and customers.
Gaps In Disaster Recovery Plans
When the U.S survey respondents were asked whether COVID-19 had exposed gaps in their disaster recovery plans, and the severity of those gaps, their responses showed that:
- 83% of respondents reported gaps in recovery planning, ranging from slight to severe.
- 83% said they’ve experienced challenges communicating with employees
- 84% said they encountered problems around enabling a remote workforce
- 83% said they’d experienced challenges communicating with employees and external parties.
- 63% said the situation uncovered gaps around visibility into cybersecurity threats.
Companies need to remain vigilant in their efforts to improve cybersecurity since cyber-attacks are inevitable, and consequences are disastrous.