New Year, New Risks in IT & Data Security

The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything about the world as we knew it. Just as we started embracing new practices like sanitizing, social distancing and remote working, the pandemic has also forced us to embrace systemic changes in the ways we deal with cyberthreats. In fact, the FBI has reported an increase in cyberattacks to up to around 4,000 per day in 2020, which is 400% higher than the amount of attacks reported before the onset of the virus.

Since remote working is here to stay, the trend of increasing cyberattacks is expected to continue well into the future. Furthermore, business technologies are also transforming, in turn attracting more cybercriminals to target business data. In these circumstances, the best solution is to build your cyber resiliency, knowledge, and protect yourself from unforeseen attacks.

Remote Working and Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity has always been a challenge for businesses with sensitive data. A single unexpected data breach could potentially wipe out everything and put your business’ existence in serious question. With the sudden transition to remote working, this challenge has increased significantly for security teams. From the potential safety of the remote working networks, to trivial human errors, there are countless ways in which your IT network and environment could be affected when employees are working remotely.

A study by IBM Security has estimated that about 76% of businesses think responding to a potential data breach during remote working is a much more difficult ordeal. Also, detecting breaches early can be another big issue for IT security teams. The same study by IBM has estimated that it takes companies roughly 200 days to detect a breach and about 70 days to contain it. With that said, is your cybersecurity posture good enough to withstand a potential attack? Doubtful.

Threats You Need to Be Aware of

Cyberthreats come in many different shapes, sizes and forms. From a simple spyware virus monitoring your network transactions to a full-fledged ransomware attack that holds all your private and company-critical data hostage for a large ransom, there are multiple ways in which your IT network could be affected or destroyed. Only when you fully understand the potential risks surrounding your IT infrastructure, can you build a resilient cybersecurity strategy that enhances your IT environment and keeps vulnerabilities at bay.

Let’s look at some of the common cyberthreats that businesses faced in 2020:

• Phishing scams: Phishing emails still pose a major threat to the digital environment of many business organizations across the world and are often the most carefree ways of getting into a network. Current Covid-19 communications have provided the perfect cover for these emails to lure in unsuspecting users. By creating a sense of urgency, these emails might persuade your employees to click on very unsafe links that could steal sensitive data or install viruses inside a computer, totally undetected by the employee. This is why employee training is so huge.

• Ransomware: Targeted ransomware attacks are increasing every single day. It is estimated that a ransomware attack will happen about every 11 seconds in 2021. Ransomware attacks hold a company’s critical data for a ransom, and millions of dollars are paid to hackers every year as corporations do not want to risk losing their sensitive data to some joker online . However, there is no guarantee that your files will be secure even after you pay the ransom. Moreover, the US Govt has recently made it illegal to pay the ransom, leaving your options limited without proper security measures in place.

• Cloud Jacking: With the cloud becoming a more sophisticated and common way of storing data, incidents of “cloud jacking” has become a serious threat lately. These attacks are mainly executed in two forms- by injecting malicious code into third-party cloud libraries, or by injecting codes directly to the cloud platforms. As estimated by the 2020 Forcepoint Cybersecurity Predictions, a public cloud vendor is responsible for providing the infrastructure while most of the responsibility concerning data security rests with the users. So, please keep in mind that you are entirely responsible for your data and its security, even when it is on the cloud. Read the fine print of the Terms of Service.

• Man-in-the-middle attack: Hackers can insert themselves in a two-party transaction when it happens on a public network. Once they can get access, they filter out and steal your data. If your remote working employees use public networks to carry out their official tasks, they are incredibly vulnerable to these kinds of attacks.

• Distributed Denial-of-Service attack: This attack happens when hackers manipulate your normal web traffic and flood the system with resources and traffic that exhaust its bandwidth. As a result, users will not be able to perform legitimate tasks that are required to be accomplished. Once the network is clogged, the attacker will be able to send various botnets to the network and manipulate it as they see fit.

Protecting Your Business from Cyberthreats

Readiness is something that all businesses and organizations must focus on, regardless of their size. It is of critical importance to have an action plan which outlines what needs to be done when something does go wrong. Most importantly, it is crucial to have a trusted Managed Service Provider to partner with who can continuously monitor your IT infrastructure, in office or remote, and give you a heads-up on usual or unusual activities.

Investing in cybersecurity solutions is much cheaper investment than paying for the retrieval and recovery of lost critical data or paying an illegal large ransom. You need to implement advanced solutions that can keep up with the sophisticated threats of this modern Age of Hackers, such as multi-factor authentication, DNS filtering, disk encryption, firewall protection and more.

If all these aspects of cybersecurity sound a bit daunting or scary to you, fret not. Reach out to us here at Tekie Geek today to get a full understanding of the vulnerabilities that lie in your current network and how we can safeguard your data with the right tools and techniques.

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