The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) saw a surge in daily cybersecurity complaints since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI's Cyber Division, Tonya Ugoretz, said that the IC3 was receiving between 3,000 and 4,000 cybersecurity complaints each day, a major jump (300%) from pre-COVID19 pandemic when it was 1,000 complaints daily.
Around the same time, Google stopped millions of maliciious coronavirus-related emails from reaching their Gmail users. According to the company, they saw 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19. This was in addition to more than 240 million COVID-related daily spam messages.
The More Virtual You Go, The More Cyber Risks There Are
The surge in cyber attacks stem from the increasingly vulnerable IT networks in organizations as they enforce social distancing and move all their users into remote connectivity from home. Even if an organization has an effective firewall, as most do, the vulnerability lies in the endpoint device usage via email phishing. A single click can cause a malicious entry into your entire network, leading to network outage, ransomware, and theft of personally identifiable data. Additionally, according to the Google reports mentioned earlier, hackers pose as public health organizations such as World Health Organization to solicit for donations or distribute malware.
The Alarming Costs
Here are a few alarming cyber incidents that happened before COVID-19 to that are indicators of a larger trend:
A key observation to note about all these incidents is they happened before COVID-19 pandemic. As we have seen earlier, there is a surge in cyber attacks after the pandemic due to the vulnerability of remote work without proper security strategy. A good question is: If organizations across industries faced this type of devastating cyber attack before the pandemic, during greener economic times, how would small to medium sized businesses respond to cyber threats during a pandemic economy with widespread remote employment?
It is clear that decisions makers from varying industries need to think critically about their security strategy during this era of remote employment. On September 17th, we are hosting an industry-leading expert on Cybersecurity provide free guidance for key decision makers on strategies they can adopt for their remote IT environments. Click on the image on the left (or click here) for more information!
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