The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a new wave of digital threats as cyber-privacy criminals scramble to cash in on heightened anxieties. A large number of businesses are already falling prey to fraud and online scams because of work-from-home measures.
While fraud has always been an unfortunate reality for businesses before the coronavirus pandemic, it has kicked things into high gear as bad actors have mobilized on all digital fronts to take advantage of distracted operations and gain access to personal data and computer systems.
Cyber-privacy criminals are using all kinds of tools at their disposal to trick users into parting with confidential information, including calls, text messages, and e-mails. To make matters worse, a large number of coronavirus-related phishing emails are being mass-circuited right now, making it easier or malicious content to pass through undetected. Cyber-privacy criminals are capitalizing on fear and confusion, knowing their targets are more likely to overlook certain things they would usually spot in calmer times.
According to the New York Times, many opportunistic businesses are now creating new sites with names that include “corona” or “covid”.
Many people are searching for information online related to COVID-19. The mad dash for such information has resulted in what the WHO calls an ‘infodemic’, in which online users have to deal with fake information that is being mass circulated on the internet. This makes it nearly impossible to find credible sources with accurate information.
In the UK, the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) reportedly uncovered new and emerging digital threats, the most prominent involved cybercriminals sending fake emails purporting to be from popular video conferencing services such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
One prominent attack was seen in Mongolia and primarily targeted employees in the public sector. The attack vector utilized an email and an RTF file, posing as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The phishing email and document looked authentic enough, but clicking the file triggered a malicious program that spread on the user’s computer and ran every time they opened Microsoft Word.
The malicious program allowed hackers to remotely gain control over the user’s device, uploading even more malicious software and instructions. The hackers would then steal data or plan further attacks. This is bad news for businesses that plan on using work-from-home policies to practice social distancing.
A significant proportion of new scams are the ones that impersonate health organizations and governmental departments, looking to exploit employees who work from home.
They primarily target health care facilities and hospitals, which are already being tested by the coronavirus pandemic. Hospitals rely heavily on technology to diagnose illnesses, access sensitive records, and use healthcare equipment. In one case, hackers managed to compromise the Czech Republic’s second-biggest hospital for almost two weeks.
It is not easy to quantify the number of attacks that are being carried out or the number of victims who are being affected, clearly new attacks are being reported every day. Major companies like Zoom, Capital One, and Equifax have experienced data breaches.
Since more businesses are utilizing social distancing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, they are experiencing a new paradigm shift that will affect online security. Their employees are no longer within their corporate borders and it has become easier for hackers to lure end-users to take action on emails and links that have been shared via social media.
Cyber-privacy is a major concern for organizations because most attacks take place at the end-user level. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed IT teams to more challenges that now include:
As a result, many organizations are now turning to advanced endpoint protection solutions to not only protect user information but stay compliant with privacy regulations.
By partnering with CSR, you can utilize a rare combination of easy-to-use data privacy tools that seamlessly integrate with your core business.
These tools are extremely effective because they evolve as rapidly as the attack vectors used by hackers to propagate security breaches.
Regulatory bodies make it very clear that businesses should do all they can to protect personal consumer data safe. Just because the coronavirus pandemic is in full gear does not mean that organizations can relax their security features. In addition, make sure you have effective email and network protection that filters out dangerous file types and malware attacks.
If you want to learn more about data breaches, get in touch with experts at CSR. Learn more here.