Sep 15, 2021
The coronavirus has affected everything from schools to the stock market and has left many business owners unsure of what the future looks like. The pandemic has also affected the cybersecurity world and left businesses and customers vulnerable to cyber attacks. Here is what we know about how coronavirus is affecting cybersecurity.
A reputable coronavirus statistics site and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have both been targeted with the intention to disrupt operations and information flow.
Depending on Digital
One of the biggest changes we have seen with the coronavirus is the shift to people spending more time in their homes for both work and leisure. We are lucky to live in an age when many can do their jobs and find entertainment in the digital space. The internet helped us get information and updates on the outbreak, stay connected to one another through video chats and conferences, read books, watch movies, and much more. However, increased use of the web means more risk for cyber attacks.
Working Remotely with Relaxed Cyber Policies
When a good portion of the workforce was asked to work remotely, employers found themselves relaxing their remote working policies to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. For many, this meant asking employees to use their personal Wi-Fi networks. The concern is that even when the business’s network is secure, it’s no guarantee for any given home Wi-Fi network to be.
Increased Online Activity for Personal and Business Use
Even with things opening back up again, the pandemic forced people to live differently and many of those habits are sticking. Online grocery shopping, food delivery, online pickup orders, and so on, mean a big uptick in online activity. This uptick is an ideal situation for pesky hackers who want to steal credit card information, your company’s secure data, and even your employee’s identities.
Exploiting Anxiety and Uncertainty
Many cybercriminals use social engineering to take advantage of internet users. What does this mean?
Attackers will use manipulative tactics to get people to open dangerous email attachments. Often they will state something is free or urgent. We have all seen the ads pop up that says we won a free TV or iPhone but cybercriminals are becoming more creative with their tactics and using the pandemic to take advantage of already anxious people.
They see stress and uncertainty surrounding a crisis as an opportunity to profit. During a crisis, people and businesses aren’t necessarily able to focus on the day-to-day operational nuances they normally would, which means things like cybersecurity get compromised. At any given time, think about how many millions or billions of people were simultaneously looking for information surrounding the coronavirus and clicking on sites and links that they normally wouldn't have in an attempt to find answers.
Protecting Your Business and Employees During the Coronavirus and Ensuring Cybersecurity
There are things that you can share with your employees that will help protect their digital security while they are spending more time in the digital space away from the office.
1. Implement Strict Digital Hygiene
We are all washing our hands and slathering our hands with hand sanitizer to prevent contracting the coronavirus and we should also be practicing digital hygiene. This involves updating (and no re-using) passwords to be strong and difficult to guess. Your passwords should be nonsensical, meaning don’t use words and try to use a variety of characters. Password managers like will save your passwords and even create a secure one for you.
2. Open Nothing from Unverified Sources
We touched on this earlier but it’s a good practice to avoid all unverified sources. No matter what is going on in the world, discourage your employees from opening emails or clicking on web links from suspect sources.
Many websites will make their URLs look similar to popular websites in hopes that people will get confused and click on them. Make sure your employees are aware of this and other tactics and instruct them to not click on anything that seems fishy.
Spam filters in email have become more advanced but every once in a while a dangerous email will slip into the user’s primary inbox. Don’t open any emails that look suspicious and certainly don’t click on links or open attachments.
3. Discourage Employees from Using Company Laptops for Personal Use
This one can be difficult to enforce but will offer a greater level of security for your business if you can execute it. In addition to not using work laptops for personal use, your employees also should not use their personal laptops for work either.
Protecting your business assets and sensitive information is imperative. Now is a great time to focus on the things you can control like business security, both physical and digital. Per Mar Security Services is offering FREE virtual security consultations as a continued effort to keep customers and employees safe during the pandemic.