Before the global pandemic of Covid-19, who thought we would need to shift our daytime operations to overnight activities? But this has been the reality because of the new social distancing needs and lockdowns. We are finding ourselves completing projects at night and now the IT staff has been tasked with the huge responsibility of allowing remote access.
Meanwhile, cybercriminals are more awake than ever. In the last 12 months, there’s been a surge in more sophisticated cybersecurity attacks. Part of the reason for this is the uncertainty encompassing the Coronavirus pandemic. More pandemic-related social engineering threats and phishing are being reported every day at an alarming rate. They have become major roadblocks to skyrocketing online businesses in 2021. Here are computer security threats we cannot ignore.
Hackers are taking advantage of the Covid-19 situation to send more phishing links to internet users’ accounts. Many pandemic-related phishing campaigns correspond with popular events like news regarding the vaccine or the number of victims succumbing to the virus. Cyberbullies aim to get us clicking on the trolling links and steal our confidential data.
Phishing is a type of social engineering online attack whereby cyber crooks use fake identities to trick us into giving out sensitive information, visit malicious websites, or download malware and ransomware. The extensive use of mobile devices and social media applications has intensified the prevalence of phishing today. For instance, a cybercriminal can send us links that look like they’re coming from a financial service provider through email. Many times, the email directs us to visit illegal sites where we have to enter our passwords and usernames.
The other form of phishing that scammers use is fake social media accounts bearing the names and pictures of our friends and family. Then they start asking for information or money via messaging apps. They make it look like it is our folks who are requesting the favor. The first step to protecting ourselves from phishing is learning the basics of this scam. We should also train our employees on the most predictable patterns of phishing tripwires. Examples are as follows:
- A sense of urgency on accepting an offer
- Messages with grammatical errors
- Requests for personal data
- Use of generic titles like Miss, Sir, and Madam
We need to be very keen on the lines of communications that our service providers use. For instance, some companies have made it clear that they never use email but rather postal mail. So we are sure that any email masquerading as a legit company is a scam. We should make a habit of contacting organizations to find out if the request is valid.
Now that most of us are working from home, our personal computers, tablets, and phones are at a greater risk of cyberattack. Unless we manage and secure them with the help of IT professionals, we might be exposing our most sensitive data to prying eyes. Many times, we store our company information on our mobile phones. This further increases the risk of breaching.
Malware is the most common type of software associated with cybercrimes. It harms our computer systems when it gets in through internet downloads, USB, or physical hard drives. For instance, it can delete, transfer, or encrypt data on our computers. Many times, malware is used to monitor our online activities or hijack the fundamental computing functions. Examples of malware include spyware, Trojan horses, viruses, and worms.
Apart from malware, there is yet more dangerous software known as ransomware. In 2021, the global cost of ransomware is expected to rise above $20 billion. As the name suggests, ransomware is a computer-based attack that corrupts the files in a computer and holds them until the victim releases a ransom. It means that the victim must pay an amount lest the systems and files get locked. Just like phishing links, ransomware is sent through emails or infected sites. Even though some victims pay the ransom, it is not guaranteed that the scammer will return the stolen information.
With reference to the above computer vulnerabilities, we need to ensure profound asset inventory practices. If we keep our stock files on our computers, we must monitor the security protocols on our IoT devices. Cyber threats are more prevalent in industries with network-connected devices. Asset inventory helps in incident response if a device is infected with malicious software. The sooner we act upon the vulnerabilities, the lower the risk of losing data and money. So taking the time to research what is sd wan and how software like this can help with the overall security of your business technology going forward should be completed as soon as possible. Let’s normalize securing our computers, networks, and sensitive data to avoid losing the battle to the proliferating cybercrimes.