Have you also received an email promising you a panacea for COVID-19? Just click on the link to order? Cybercrime increased dramatically during the corona crisis. Not surprising: there are always malicious people trying to cash in on a crisis situation. They respond to current events in order to steal money or valuable information from their victims. Or they try to further disrupt the situation for political or ideological reasons. What can you do about it?
To achieve their goals, cyber attackers are looking for human and technical vulnerabilities that they can exploit. The corona crisis helped them:
- People experience insecurity and are therefore more susceptible to scams.
- Technical facilities were quickly put in place to make working from home possible. Security was often not the top priority.
Cyber criminals give a corona twist to proven attack methods. Chinese hackers, for instance, used a vulnerability in Cisco equipment for an extensive espionage campaign. They may have been looking for strategic information about COVID-19. And in July, 130 Twitter accounts were hacked, including those of celebrities like Elon Musk and Joe Biden. These hacked accounts claimed to be donating thousands of dollars in Bitcoins due to the corona crisis. In reality, the hackers managed to loot $ 121,000 worth of Bitcoins.
Now that the government has relaxed corona measures, there is more room to see how your organization can further arm itself against such cyber attacks. Because the threat is not over yet: more people continue to work from home than before. In addition, the virus can flare up again. Corona cybercrime therefore remains a lucrative business. We give you some advice to protect your organization.
Working securely online
Have you made your IT systems and information accessible to home workers? This online access can also be an entrance to your IT infrastructure for cyber criminals. Therefore, take measures to keep them out.
Awareness of employees
Your employees are your first line of defense. Inform them about the risks of working from home. Explain what they can do to protect themselves and the organization against cybercrime:
- Recognizing and reporting suspicious situations
- Safe use of equipment and applications
- Safe handling of confidential business information
- Home workplace and home network security
Protection of devices
A malware-infected laptop or phone can compromise your IT infrastructure. Therefore, consult your IT department for technical solutions to protect the devices of your employees. Make the chosen solution an organization-wide standard.
Access control on online resources
Apply strict access control to online facilities for your employees. Check with your IT department at the various best practices you can use for this.
Record measure in policy
Record the measures taken in the information security policy of your organization. This way it is not just a one-off effort, but you are also prepared for:
- new employees who are going to work remotely;
- new systems that become available online for employees.
These are challenging times. Good insight into the latest situation helps you to timely intervene when things change forthe worse.
Consult external sources
Regularly consult official sources such as the sites of the RIVM and the NCSC. There you will find reliable, up-to-date information that can help you make your decisions. These bodies also publish practical advice and guidelines.
Should an attacker manage to gain access to your IT infrastructure despite the other measures, timely detection can limit the damage. Therefore, apply automated monitoring to detect suspicious activity in your IT infrastructure.
Respond to suspicious situations
Define a protocol for reporting and following up suspicious situations. This allows you to react quickly and limit or even prevent damage. Inform your employees about this protocol so that they know what is expected of them.
Prepare for the future
You can use the lessons from the corona crisis for similar situations in the future. Do you have a roadmap for pandemics and similar large-scale crises? Check whether this scenario already addresses the risk of increasing cybercrime. Measures you can include are::
- Preparing employees for this additional risk.
- Intensify technical monitoring for suspicious activities in the company’s IT infrastructure.
- Monitoring current information and advice from official sources.
Curious how to protect your organisation against cybercrime? INTERMEDIATE can help. With our substantive knowledge, we find the right professional who can guide and support your organization. Interested? Please contact us: intermediate.pro/contact
This blog was written by Teun Tonino.