The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything about the world as we know it. Just as we started embracing new practices like sanitizing, social distancing, and remote working, the pandemic has also forced us to embrace systemic changes in the ways we deal with cyberthreats. In 2021, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 847,376 complaints from Americans, up 7% from 2020, and the potential losses for these complaints exceeded $6.9 billion.1
Since remote working is here to stay, the trend of increasing cyberattacks is expected to continue well into the future. Moreover, business technologies are also transforming, attracting more cybercriminals to target business data. In these circumstances, the best solution is to build your cyber resiliency and protect yourself from unforeseen attacks.
Remote Working and Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity has always been a challenge for businesses with sensitive data. A single unexpected breach could wipe out everything and put your existence in question. With the sudden transition to remote working, this challenge has increased for security teams. From the potential safety of the remote working networks to trivial human errors, there are endless ways in which your IT network could be affected when employees are working remotely.
In a recent study, nearly 20% of organizations said that remote work contributed to their organization’s data breach, which ended up costing companies $4.96 million, 15% more than the average breach.2 Also, detecting breaches early is another big issue for IT security teams. In 2021, it took an average of 212 days to detect a breach, and an average of 75 days to contain one, for a total lifecycle of 287 days.2 Is your cybersecurity posture good enough to withstand a potential attack?
Threats You Need to be Aware of
Cyberthreats come in different shapes and forms. From simple spyware monitoring your network transactions to a full-fledged ransomware attack that holds all your critical data for ransom, there are multiple ways in which your IT network could be affected. Only when you get an idea of the potential risks surrounding your IT infrastructure can you build a resilient cybersecurity strategy that enhances your IT environment and keeps vulnerabilities at bay.
Let’s look at some of the common cyberthreats that businesses are prone to:
- Phishing scams: Phishing emails still pose a major threat to the digital landscape of many businesses across the globe. COVID-19 communications have provided the perfect cover for these emails to lure unsuspecting users. By creating a sense of urgency, these emails might persuade your employees to click on malware links that could steal sensitive data or install malicious viruses inside a computer.
- Ransomware: Targeted ransomware attacks are increasing every day. There was a 92.7% increase in ransomware attacks in 2021 compared with 2020.3 Ransomware attacks hold an organization’s critical data for a ransom, and millions of dollars are paid to hackers every year as corporates do not want to risk losing their sensitive data. However, there is no guarantee that your files will be secure even after you pay the ransom.
- Cloud jacking: With the cloud becoming a more sophisticated way of storing data, incidents of cloud jacking have become a serious threat. These attacks are mainly executed in two forms – injecting malicious code into third-party cloud libraries or injecting codes directly to the cloud platforms. To put it simply, a public cloud vendor is responsible for providing the infrastructure while most of the responsibility concerning data security rests with the users. So, bear in mind that you are mostly responsible for your data security even when it is on the cloud.
- Man-in-the-middle attack: Hackers can insert themselves in a two-party transaction when it happens on a public network. Once they get access, they can filter and steal your data. If your remote working employees use public networks to carry out their official tasks, they are vulnerable to these attacks.
- Distributed denial-of-service attack: This attack happens when hackers manipulate your normal web traffic and flood the system with resources and traffic that exhaust the bandwidth. As a result, users will not be able to perform their legitimate tasks. Once the network is clogged, the attacker will be able to send various botnets to the network and manipulate it.
Protecting Your Business from Cyberthreats
Security readiness is something all organizations must focus on irrespective of their size. It is mandatory to have an action plan that outlines what needs to be done when something goes wrong. Most importantly, it is critical to have a trusted IT service partner who can continuously monitor your IT infrastructure and give you a heads-up on usual activities.
Investing in cybersecurity solutions is way cheaper than losing your critical data or paying a large ransom. You need to deploy advanced solutions that can keep up with the sophisticated threats of this modern age. Then, there is a list of best practices such as multi-factor authentication, DNS filtering, disk encryption, firewall protection, and more.
If all these aspects of cybersecurity sound daunting to you, fret not. Read our checklist to understand the vulnerabilities in your network and how you can safeguard your data with the right tools and techniques.