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How COVID-19 impacted cybersecurity and how organizations should respond in 2021

February 12, 2021

How COVID-19 impacted cybersecurity and how organizations should respond in 2021
 
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In 2020, the number of cyberattacks related to the pandemic grew from a few hundred daily to over 5,000 in one day alone.
 
With the migration out of the office and the increased exposure to cybersecurity attacks, safeguarding individuals working from home has quickly become a top priority.
 
In this episode of B2B Tech Talk, Keri Roberts is joined by Dr. Ali Baghdadi, CEO of Middle East, Turkey & Africa and senior VP at Ingram Micro, to discuss how the pandemic impacted cybersecurity and how organizations can protect against attacks in 2021.
 
They also discussed:
  • How to prevent malware as well as keep voice and face recognition secure
  • How an organization can bring back a sense of security after an attack
  • Which security measures organizations should invest in for 2021
  • Three things people can do now to secure themselves as they work from home
  • Products and segments partners should focus on in the next year 
 


How the global pandemic impacted the cybersecurity business

With the onset of the pandemic, almost everyone moved to a work-from-home environment, which increased exposure to cybersecurity attacks and opportunities for criminal hackers to exploit individuals. In 2020, the number of cyberattacks related to the pandemic grew from a few hundred daily to over 5,000 in one day alone. In May 2020, cyberattacks against banks alone increased almost 240%. Safeguarding individuals working from home quickly became a top priority. Additionally, securing the data of an organization and its intellectual property is absolutely critical.


The most common cyberattack strategies:

There are three common cyberattack strategies to be aware of: 
  1. Spear Phishing. This is an email or electronic communication scam targeted toward a specific individual. Criminals often infiltrate a vendor’s email and then attempt to impersonate that vendor for personal gain.
  2. Vishing (voice phishing). With AI, criminals can mimic anyone’s voice. Vishing is the practice of leaving voice messages that are seemingly from a trusted party in order to induce the recipient to reveal personal information.
  3. Ransomware. This is a type of malicious software used by cybercriminals to extort money, usually through the act of encrypting valuable files so you’re unable to read them until you pay a ransom.  



How organizations can bring back a sense of security after an attack

For any type of attack an organization must plan to safeguard its people and its assets. For cyberattacks specifically, the organization must follow a specific methodology to make the network secure for its people.
 
There are five functions of security every company must consider:
  1. Identify an attack or security risk.
  2. Protect against the attack/risk.
  3. Detect the attack/risk when it happens.
  4. Respond when the attack/risk happens.
  5. Recover after an attack happens.
 

Security posture and risks to a company can be assessed at a high level. For starters, companies should look to use data classification so that the top priority data is hidden or encrypted. A more detailed assessment can be achieved by getting a service provider to perform a vulnerability assessment.
 
Training and educating employees is one of the most important aspects of security. Criminals will always play on people’s lack of knowledge; education is the best way to be able to identify and mitigate risks.


Invest in these security measures for 2021

One of the areas companies should consider investing in when it comes to cybersecurity is perimeter security and its enhancement. Companies should also continue to prioritize short-term remote security for their workers using tools like multi-factor authentication. Another important area to invest in is data classification and encryption.
 
Employees should use complex passwords, change them regularly and never share them with anyone. They should not click on links that offer things that look like they’re unreal or too good to be true. Finally, they should use an antivirus and a VPN to be safe.