The Impact of Covid-19 On Cyber Security Threats

The coronavirus pandemic of late 2019 and 2020 has changed the way some businesses will operate forever. Although there was an increased take-up of flexible working practices and working from home among many organisations in recent years, the threat of Covid-19 certainly made many businesses speed up their rate of change. 

Of course, there have been numerous challenges that have needed to be surmounted in order to make cooperative work function effectively when a workforce is so dispersed, as has been the case during the pandemic. Many of these challenges have been met by the appropriate use of technological solutions. After all, in the digital age, modern data communications systems have enabled businesses to keep operating productively when, in the past, they may have faced very significant disruption. 

And yet, the increased uptake in remote working technologies has led to some noticeable issues with data security. How has the pandemic impacted on cybersecurity and what are the major threats that Cyber Security Providers UAE and around the world must ensure they guard against today?

Phishing, Malspams and Ransomware

With many criminals in a state of lockdown – just like the rest of the population – the majority of professional cyber security monitoring services noted a significant upturn in malware in 2020. With more people accessing their work via email servers and cloud-enabled data sharing points, so cyber criminals saw an opportunity. To begin with, phishing scams and the deployment of ransomware became more commonplace in 2020. The use of targeted spam for malicious purposes against businesses also became much more prevalent during the crisis.

Network Security and Remote Working Operations

With so many people connecting to centralised servers from home, so the usual cyber security that protects a network from within became harder to manage. Firewalls needed to allow greater authorised access from outside, for example, and this often meant needing ramp up authentication procedures. If not, then it became easier for spyware to secretly snoop on what was going on behind a firewall by monitoring a connected terminal outside of it.

Data Handling Outside of the Office

Not all of the cyber threats during the pandemic were trying to use only software either. Some focussed on old computers and legacy equipment that might be being used in remote locations. Generally speaking, IT teams that didn't manage the use of such equipment properly often found them to be susceptible to unauthorised access. Whether this is because they held data on removable drives, because old equipment was not properly destroyed or simply because their password protection was weak, Covid-19 meant it was harder to keep on top of hardware susceptibilities of all kinds.

The Appropriate Use of Cloud Services

Another big opportunity for cyber criminals was the augmented use of cloud-based services during the pandemic to store information as wide-ranging as customer records to financial reports. Unless the servers running such services were, themselves, fully secure against potential attack, their adoption as a means of maintaining social distancing made some businesses more exposed to data losses (DLP)  and privacy breaches. Even something as seemingly as innocent as a cloud-enabled spreadsheet sharing service has led to significant problems among some organisations since their reliance on cloud services became more commonplace.

Article Contributed By CyberGate Defense

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