With attempts at easing lockdowns globally and an envisaged victory over the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s proper to take into cognizance the cybersecurity impact on your business. Expectations are rife that after the victory the world is heading into a “new normal” in the way society will be organized and the way business will be conducted.
While the main preoccupation of individuals as the COVID-19 pandemic raged on has been how to protect themselves and their families from the virus and how to hold on to their jobs, for business owners, it has been a different ball game altogether. You must have focused on how to beat the pandemic without doing irreversible damage to your economy in the process.
This could have led you to take all sorts of decisions that included remote working, telemedicine, outsourcing, and online marketing. All these measures taken to sustain the life of your business are in order, but you probably didn’t take the cybersecurity risks involved into consideration.
As the world is grappling and fighting to overcome the pandemic, it’s expected that a “new normal” way of conducting businesses and even living, will be the order of the day. Measures such as social distancing, remote working, and online transactions will definitely take the center stage.
The “new normal” may even necessitate some businesses relocating to a “safer” environment. However, if you want to embark on relocation, you need to properly plan the design and location of your IT-inventory.
Unfortunately, it’s not everybody that has the same mindset about the way COVID-19 has ravaged the world, while you may be thinking of the negative impact on your business and employees, there are people out there who are more concerned on how they will reap fortunes from the pandemic. Therefore, you should expect that any of the measures you may be thinking of implementing for the “new normal” will attract the full attention of cybercriminals and you need to be prepared for the possible onslaught.
TechRepublic reported that 71% of security professionals raised a very serious alarm on the increased security threats or attacks since the COVID-19 outbreak, and the fact that these attacks were possible due to the measures put in place by businesses to counter the negative impact of COVID-19.
The WHO also reported that cybercrime increased fivefold as a result of the pandemic. These are all frightening data and that is due to the fact that people couldn’t put the necessary measures in place to guard against attacks.
They were able to get at their targets through malicious domains, malware, and ransomware. Cybercriminals played on the people’s intelligence and concern by registering a considerable number of domains on the Internet that revolved around the terms: “coronavirus,” “corona-virus,” “covid19,” and “covid-19.”
Quite a lot of these domains were not legitimate, and they used them to carry out spamming, phishing, or to spread malware. They were able to get away with these nefarious activities because of the widespread global communications on the coronavirus and people were very ready and eager to know more about the pandemic taking into consideration its novel nature.
Malware, spyware, and Trojans were found to have been embedded in interactive coronavirus maps and websites. Spam emails were also used to lure users into clicking on links that eventually downloaded malware to their computers or mobile devices.
Cybercriminals saw hospitals, medical centers, and other public institutions as soft spots and launched ransomware attacks for the singular reason that they were seriously overwhelmed with the health crisis and could not be locked out of their systems, hence, the very high tendency for them to pay the ransom. They infiltrated ransomware into their systems through emails containing infected links or attachments, compromised employee credentials, or by exploiting a vulnerability in the system.
It will amount to grave injustice if we have to hold anybody complicit for these attacks since the whole attention was shifted on how to stay alive in the face of the raging pandemic and unfortunately, cybercriminals had a field day.
It behooves you to think twice before applying these same measures line, hook, and sinker for the “new normal.” The trend will most likely continue in the “new normal” unless you are able to put effective cybersecurity measures in place.
There is every likelihood that cybercriminals will even go-ahead to up their game, therefore, you must be abreast of the possible emerging cybersecurity threats.
What we will see with the “new normal” is that virtually every country will put up measures to ensure that a greater majority of the workforce stays, learns, or works from home, it’s absolutely essential you too, do everything possible to focus on and upgrade your cybersecurity measures. As your workplace is your source of livelihood, you must endeavor to ensure that apart from your private life, your workplace is also secure.
You should also ensure that you take some other precautionary measures especially if you have to make your employees work from home such as:
- Consider backing up all your important files, and store them independently of your system (e.g. in the cloud or on an external drive);
- Ensure you are on the right company’s website before entering your login details or any of your sensitive information.
- Strengthen your home network;
- Safeguard system administrations vulnerabilities that attackers could capitalize on to wreak havoc;
- Find out and disable entry points that could result from access given to a third-party or an outdated component;
If you still deem it necessary to relocate, possibly due to the fact that the crisis and pandemic have seriously impacted the economy of your operating base negatively, it’s highly important that you find out all details about the cybersecurity regulations of the country or state you are relocating to. You need to find out what their position is on the use of firewalls, VPNs, and proxies.
This may seem irrelevant but it will amount to a great waste of resources after you have paid a commercial moving company only for you to discover that you have landed your business in a great mess. Another thing you must check out is the capabilities of the IT professionals you may have to employ from your new base.
You can’t afford to barge into the new normal, you need a tactical approach to effectively secure your business.