As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to persist, cyberattacks and data breaches are continuing to grow. The pandemic has changed normal work culture and behavior in a variety of ways, and now that we are in our second year of the pandemic, it will continue to do so. Here are a few ways that cybersecurity has been changed forever due to the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.
While this began as a temporary fix to help stop the spread of COVID-19, we are beginning to see it as a more permanent solution. For some organizations, it can be tricky to ensure all networks and equipment are secure from outside threats. Enterprises have several satellite offices now even if they don’t realize it, whether it’s in a kitchen, living room, home office or elsewhere, because their employees are working from multiple different locations. That explains the report from the FBI that cybercrimes have tripled since the start of the pandemic in 2020 (only one year). Hackers and online threats now have several different targets to gaining access to your sensitive data. This is why there is a stronger concentration on solutions that surround the data with security controls wherever they may be instead of solely focusing on the devices. This is what Microsoft has been spending a lot of time focusing on.
These home environments are not nearly as secure as a computing environment that organizations are used to. Employees have also reported more phishing and spam emails, meaning it is more likely that they will click on a link without realizing it is a cyberattack or threat. Remote working on a large scale across the United States and other countries has led to multiple insecure, uncontrolled and unmonitored access points making corporations more vulnerable than ever. The IT community is challenged more than ever to create solutions to safeguard these scenarios.
Meeting virtually on platforms such as Zoom and Google Meets has become a regular and convenient occurrence. It is thought to be a safe and cost-effective way to gather with employees versus face-to-face meetings. While virtual meetings have some pros such as shorter meeting times and easier multitasking, it also comes with several opportunities for online threats. While virtual meetings can be convenient and more productive, they also open a new door for hackers to gain information.
When choosing your virtual meeting platform, standardize on one, select security controls and make sure users understand appropriate behavior from a security stance. Of course in person meetings are the most secure, but may not always be practical.
Before the pandemic, most consumers were worried about their personal information being leaked online or stolen by hackers. Now more than ever that fear is present in most of us due to the growing number of e-commerce businesses. We are almost forced to create more online profiles and share our personal data and information across online platforms if we want to purchase something or hire a service. Whether that means purchasing something or simply booking an appointment at the local hair salon here in Huntsville, Alabama. More and more businesses are turning to online, and that means more and more of our data is getting shared, maybe without us even being aware of it.
Be careful of what information you share and ask for from clients. States like California and others have very stringent laws that protect their residence information wherever it may travel too. Some of these penalties are quite steep.
Government regulations need to be in place in order to properly ensure consumer’s data is protected and not sold online without their knowledge. Consumers should be able to delete, discard and destroy their personal information from any organization at any time. But sometimes are not aware of their rights or how to do so. Education is key to supporting this right. The only way this can happen is if the right measures are taken by the government. Protecting consumer’s personal data should be a priority for all large and small businesses. The European Union has made this move already with GDPR that governs such personal information and other countries like the US are moving in that direction.
At the end of 2020, the Department of Defense released information about new CMMC requirements that will need to be met by all government contractors in order to better protect our nation’s sensitive data. These new requirements are expected to continue to roll out over the next 5 years until all government agencies have been audited and received contracts stating they meet one of three levels of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program.
The CMMC model is strongly being discussed as a wider answer to the cyber security gaps even outside of the DoD arena. Many are pushing for such adoption at the state, local and other federal arenas. (not law yet, but could be)
Cyberattacks and threats are prevalent in this new way of life we find ourselves in, and it is important to take measures to protect your company’s, employees and customers data. F1 Solutions, located in Huntsville, Alabama, serves most of the United States and can help ensure your business’s assets and equipment are protected and monitored. Contact us to learn more about any of these topics.