The COVID Pandemic has seen a dramatic increase in cyber criminal activity. What are the risks and how do you protect your business?
The current pandemic wreaking havoc on our world’s healthcare and economy has created an open season of hunting for cybercriminals. With over 80% of companies in Australia encouraging their employees to work from home, cybercriminals have new opportunities to scam their victims.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scam Watch reveals a drastic increase in scams from March 2020 to April 2020, from 11,000 scams to over 17,000. As of late March, 36.5% of businesses in Australia had some sort of data breach when their employees used a third-party cloud service.
The need for cyber insurance has never been greater with the current crisis exposing weaknesses in IT departments and human behaviour.
Keep reading to learn about your greatest cyber risks and how you can mitigate them.
What Are Your Cyber Threat Risks?
You may believe you have things covered on your end. After all, you not only have great anti-virus software, but you also are spending extra money for an IT Managed Service Provider. Even if you have an IT Managed Service Provider, you’re at risk.
Research indicates that cybercriminals are working extra hard in what looks like a field that’s ripe for the picking. CYFIRMA’s research reveals a 600% increase in cyber threat indicators because of the pandemic from February to early March. The research goes on to reveal the immense cost of cybercrime in Australia as it is costing individuals and businesses millions of dollars.
Your employees are now working from home through less secure networks. They’re distracted by an environment that is not their office, and their guard is down. Plus, your current IT staff, working both from home and the office, are stretched to the brink.
Plus, when you have more employees at home, your company has now created more access points to a network. This gives cybercriminals an opportunity to capitalize on any vulnerabilities in your system.
Most commonly, criminals are using phishing emails.
Picture this: your employee is at home, working diligently. They receive an email with a request to fill out a survey for what looks like a legitimate need, like healthcare. So, they click on it. Once they click on a phishing email, the software opens up in the background and scans their computer. In a matter of seconds, it can find vulnerabilities and download malware.
Most recently in April this year, Service NSW had this exact scenario when an unsuspecting employee opened a phishing email. The net result was an attack that illegally accessed the emails of 47 staff members. Active cyber security teams were able to stop the attack, but not until the personal information of customers had potentially been exposed to the scammers.
The damage had already been done. Now Service NSW is working tirelessly to contact affected customers, but the damage to their reputation will have far reaching consequences.
Second to phishing emails are SMS scams. The most current SMS scam looks like a Coronavirus text message from the Australian Government.
When you click on the link to access a Coronavirus testing location near you, the link will redirect the phone to a website where cybercriminals download malware or a virus onto the phone. So ironically while you’re looking for a place to be tested for a physical virus, your phone is picking up a digital virus.
If your phone picks up this virus, a criminal can steal your banking credentials whenever you use your phone to log into your account.
What Are Your Cyber Security Weaknesses?
Your businesses’ biggest technical weakness is, unsuspecting, at-home employees. You may believe your biggest weakness lies in your current tech system, but truthfully, your employees are your biggest threat.
You have a two-fold risk with employees.
Employees working remotely pose a bigger technical risk than if they were working at the office.
Covid-19 has forced businesses to send their employees home to use remote desktops and mobile devices. If you have any weaknesses in your network, remote desktops expose them.
Additionally, your IT team, which is already maxed out because of their need to bulk up your security system, will need to run double-time to help remo