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Cyber Security during COVID-19

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Navigating the Challenges of Cyber Security during COVID-19

 

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the world changed in almost every way imaginable. One of the biggest shifts people saw in the professional world, was the rise of remote jobs and working from home. People had to pack up their necessities and quickly transition their workdays out of the office and into their homes.

This shift to working solely from the privacy of people’s homes brought new challenges that most haven’t had to face in their work life. Zoom meetings may have become the most prevalent thing happening on computer screens from our perspective, but if you look deeper, something more threatening has been occurring right in front of us. Cyber-attacks have risen exponentially since the start of the pandemic.

Now that employees are working from home, several factors are adding to companies’ vulnerabilities to cyber threats. People are often the most vulnerable asset a company has, and human error can account for many exploitations. Some common reasons for this are:

  • Employees are likely accessing their company server from home and then sending information back and forth from their personal computers. Personal computers and Wi-Fi often do not have the same firewalls or extensive security precautions that many office computers and Wi-Fi do.
  • Passwords are more vulnerable on personal computers because people often use the same passwords for multiple websites or accounts.
  • People are less likely to keep their software up to date or have the latest protection methods on their personal computers.
  • People are more distracted at home, due to kids, pets, or just the comforts of being in your own space, and this can lead to easy oversights in judgment.

These types of scenarios can make it easier for employees to fall victim to a cyber-attack from a disgruntled employee, a script kitty or the newly popular use of the need for information about COVID to distract someone from their malicious intent. While these attacks are being seen far more frequently, some companies are also dealing with more sophisticated attacks from malicious actors who are working for political or very destructive reasons.

Growing cyber threats require companies’ IT staff to constantly be aware of the new threats that are facing them and to account for the higher amounts of human error that are inevitable in the new “work from home” setting. It is imperative that there is not only an awareness, but steps toward risk management through regular audits, training and extensive protection measures. Gone are the days that IT departments are able to focus on normal office tasks and now they must look toward how to protect their employees and their overall company, because there is a strong likelihood that this shift could be long term. Many of these professionals are not fully trained in the security space and therefore could lead to more third-party companies being contracted to provide risk management and security services.

Companies like Remedi Security would be able to find potential threats and look for vulnerabilities through penetration testing. They would also be able to offer up-to-date information on best practices for cyber security and create a plan for the entire company going forward. Having an internal or third-party security team will prove to be extremely valuable going forward in today’s world of vulnerability.