Challenges of cyber crime are tough at any time – and now is no different. In fact, it’s worse. As nations all over the world start to work from home, the hackers are still out there, and, sadly, they are sat rubbing their hands as the digital world becomes more vulnerable. They are using this swift transition to remote working, and the disruption and the inevitable confusion that comes with the COVID-19 measures to their distinct advantage.
You may have read our blog from earlier in the year Ransomware – The Biggest Cyber Threat of 2020. Big companies such as Travelex have already been hit with major breaches this year, where hackers had accessed their systems months before and lain in wait for the right moment to strike. Well, now is the right time for hackers and, as the dependency on digital infrastructures increases, so does the risk of cyber crime.
And the stats prove it…
● According to SentinelOne, the number of attempted cyberattacks from 23rd February to 16th March stood at 145 threats per 1,000 endpoints, compared to 30 or 37 at the start of that period.
● The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau reported losses of over £800,000 due to COVID-19 cyber scams in February – and this was for the UK alone.
● Check Point Research reported that 4,000 COVID-19 domains have been registered this year, many of which will be being used as bogus websites for cyber crime.
The hackers are unscrupulous in their approach – they are targeting businesses that have had to move quickly to remote operations, they are benefitting from the fact that people are generally spending more time online while in lockdown, and they are shamelessly targeting people who are vulnerable and needing more information at a time of uncertainty.
Phishing attempts are happening via email and increasingly by text, and all it takes is one click on a link and you could find your company paralysed as hackers infiltrate your system.
What you can do to combat COVID cyber crime
At Somerbys IT, we want to support as many businesses as possible during this uncertain time, so we have put together a list of steps you should be taking to give you heightened protection.
● Company laptops only – make sure all your staff have the correct kit and that they are using it. It’s very easy to get complacent and reach for a personal laptop just because it’s to hand.
● VPN – if a home network isn’t secure, it could compromise the whole company system. Accessing systems with a VPN will offer better security.
● Multi-factor authentication – this should be used for all internet-accessible services, including systems you access every day, like emails.
● Password managers – tools like LastPass are perfect for generating and storing secure passwords. Using the road you live on plus the year you were born in simply isn’t good enough.
● Clickbait – hackers are pros when it comes to enticing people to click on a link. Take a moment before clicking. Question everything. Drive this home to your team.
● Screen lock – screen locks should be used when you’re away from your desk – even at home. Why? Kids and pets. While you’re making a cup of tea, all it takes is for little hands or paws to appear and click something they shouldn’t.
● Run all updates – while bearing clickbait in mind, be sure to run all official updates for your devices. Otherwise, you are leaving them more open and vulnerable to attack.
● Policies – now is a good time to update and circulate company policies so everyone is on the same page. These should include policies on security, remote working, mobile devices and personal devices.
As a business owner, you are handing out a lot of trust to your employees at the moment. With the crossover between home and work, it’s easy to become more relaxed. You’ll need to keep reminding them to stay vigilant. With this in mind, we’ve made this handy downloadable PDF that you can send on to your team to keep them, and your business, on a secure track:
Whilst COVID-19 is putting immense strain on businesses, this is not the time to start cutting your IT costs. IT has become simultaneously more valuable and vulnerable than ever and the last thing you need is to be dealing with a cyberattack that compromises your system.
This is the question you need to ask yourself – are my employees’ home networks as secure as the office network? If the answer is no, we urge you to get in touch so that we can help you. Remember, you don’t have to do it on your own – this is where our skills lie and we’ll be able to offer you quick solutions to keep your company protected.