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The Impact of COVID-19 on Cybersecurity

Early this year the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 as a pandemic. For months now, the COVID-19 pandemic has been taking over the headlines of different networks around the world.

Greatly hit are businesses and organizations because of the work stoppage and the threat of economic recession. Companies are forced to adopt new and different setups to continue such as remote working or working from home, and almost everything is being held virtually. With everything done online, one of the most affected sectors is cybersecurity.

According to a survey by ISSA, cybersecurity professionals saw a 63% increase in cyber-attacks related to the pandemic. These are some of the possible impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on cybersecurity:

1. A rise in the number of cybercriminals

There has been an increasing number of businesses closing, filing for bankruptcy, and retrenching their employees. In effect, there is also a rise in the unemployment rate worldwide. With many people merely stuck in their homes on their computers, there is a big chance that they will resort to cyber crimes as a means to earn their living. They will also take advantage of the fact that since there are a lot of people online, there is a big chance to victimize people. Students are especially vulnerable subjects to cybercriminals.

The focus should be on the systems for the data privacy of the company. It should be given tighter security. Criminals know their way on the web, and since there is an increasing cloud-based data management, it is expected for cybercriminals to target these systems easily.

2. Increased Security Risk

With work and school being shifted to an online setting, there will be a paramount rise in online platform usage. This will expose a lot of users to possible phishing attacks, malware, to name a few. If schools and organizations are not well equipped against these possible attacks, there is a risk that data will be sabotaged, or worse, confidential information will be exposed. There is also a risk for companies whose cybersecurity providers’ businesses are also affected by the pandemic since their walls could be weak.

For countries that do not have a stable internet connection or power supply, remote workers, and students are more likely to make use of public networks available in shared places for tasks to be uninterrupted. Using unsafe public networks add risk in baring sensitive information transferred and data processed in the computer.

It is a necessity for organizations that shifted to remote learning and working to ascertain that all systems are safe from the possible risk of cyberattacks. There is a need to invest in security for employees working remotely, even temporarily. Remote setups should be regulated by companies. There should be a restriction on the use of public networks, and as much as possible personal computers should not be used for working. This is to ensure that sensitive information that is not for public consumption is secured well.

Caution should always be made before downloading and clicking links. Due to the rising curiosity of the pandemic, cybercriminals are using Covid-19 related links, software, and applications to penetrate your system.

3. Potential Delay in Cyber-attack Response

With most of the companies realigning their budget because of the pandemic, the allocation for cybersecurity is expected to be reduced. Companies are focusing more on transitioning to the new normal. There is a downsizing of employees, and third-party contractors are no longer hired. As a result, there will be delays in the detection of attacks and its response.

Companies should strategize in such a way that even with all the cut downs, priority will be given to the most at risk and the most important systems. Automation can also be opted for by companies for reduced manpower but still, valuable tasks are done. Another option is for companies to prioritize cybersecurity and train someone to deliver cybersecurity functions.

However, despite these possible harmful impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic to cybersecurity, companies still need to retain their clients and as much as possible accommodate their needs. Despite the difficulties brought about by the pandemic, there will be recoveries among all industries. While cybersecurity businesses are more likely to recover from the effects faster than all other companies since almost everyone is resorting to virtual workplaces, other companies will gradually recuperate from the impacts of this pandemic. Thus, there will be a lot of changes needed in the systems used by these companies. And one of the substantial changes is the need for reliable cybersecurity development and maintenance. They would opt for more sustainable and more flexible systems that can be functional and reliable whether in usual face-to-face setups or remote setups.

The situation can then be an opportunity for the cybersecurity community to move forward and accordingly lead the way to the new normal. Firstly, to study the current situation and see the current trends online, the drastic changes happening in every tick of the clock acts done by cybercriminals, and the direction that businesses are gearing towards. This way, there will be an up to date information on the current situation thus, better solutions for the crises will be formulated. We can confidently admit that not only are the non-cyber related businesses need change. There should also be modifications made in the cybersecurity industry especially on the risk assessments previously made since these data may no longer apply due to the effects of the pandemic.

With the next few months still uncertain, with Covid-19 still incurable, GECO Asia concludes that cybersecurity will shift from merely on the defending side to be the forefront in businesses. Organizations will need to rethink their cyber risk management’s flexibility and adaptability to the current changing times.

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