Is a cyber-pandemic on the horizon? Cyber attacks are way up right now – between February and March alone hacking and phishing attempts rose 37%. More people are working from home using their own devices and businesses aren’t ready for a large-scale shift to a different way of doing things, and hackers know this is the best time to exploit vulnerabilities.
Unfortunately it would take very little to knock out our normal business transactions altogether, and businesses need to be prepared for such an eventuality.
The COVID-19 pandemic taught us that we were unprepared for a lot of things, and an increase in cybercrime activity is one of them. A cyberattack can travel faster than a biological virus and create a significantly more impactful economic crisis than a biological virus. Recovering from the digital destruction could take a long time, grinding the economy to a halt while tech companies work to fix the problem.
Even just knocking the internet out could lead to pandemonium. Global internet loss could cost upwards of $50 billion per day and would prevent the normal operation of data centers, manufacturing plants, and even retail stores. Even buying groceries would become nearly impossible as orders couldn’t get filled and credit cards couldn’t get processed.
Since February 2020 phishing has increased 600%. These attempts are designed to get their victims to give up personally identifying information, and it’s not always a password or social security number they are after.
Authentication of users requires a lot of different information and more often than not things like usernames and passwords and even social security numbers are already available on the dark web. Hackers need to know things like the street you grew up on and your first pet’s name – the same kinds of questions you’ll often see on those “what kind of cheesecake are you” quizzes.
Cybersecurity has become an even bigger challenge now that people are working from home, often on their own devices. Companies that did not have work-from-home or bring-your-own-device policies in place before the pandemic hit are experiencing the most difficulty making the transition and are also leaving themselves most vulnerable.
Companies need to create policies that reflect a world in which working from home and using personal devices is an expected and normal part of doing business. Without such policies, competitors become more agile in the face of sudden disruptions.
Learn more about the need to reexamine cybersecurity in the face of COVID-19 from the infographic below.