Cyberattacks can happen to anyone at any given time. In fact, a cyberattack occurs every 11 seconds. Although you might believe it will never happen to you, no organization is exempt from one. As technology improves, cybercriminals become stronger because they have more mediums to infect. We live in a digital age as it is, making cyberattacks much more feasible for hackers, and when you add a global event like a pandemic into the mix, that makes corporations that much more vulnerable. Discussed below are four different types of cyberattacks to keep an eye out for during a pandemic and how to protect your business from them.
Phishing is a common cyberattack that primarily occurs via email. Typically, this means an employee receives an email that looks trustworthy and they click on a suspicious link or attachment in the email that will then initiate the download of a virus or malware, which will then infect the user’s device and can potentially compromise an entire company. 92% of malware is delivered by email, which typically stems from a phishing attack. During a pandemic, most companies adopt the work-from-home method, which means they rely on email to communicate with each other.
Additionally, with a pandemic, employees will see a higher volume of pandemic-related emails. These factors are what organizations need to be weary of. Remember that phishing emails will look like direct copycats of a legitimate email. To put this into better perspective, a good example would be that your company sends out frequent emails with pandemic updates. A malicious email could look identical to what is legitimate, and a user then will open the email and click on a link or attachment because they don’t think twice and genuinely believe it’s a real email coming from your organization.
How to Protect Your Business
As simple as this cyberattack is, there are also very simple tactics to combat this threat and prevent it from compromising your network. First and foremost, conduct cyberattack training. Employees should be able to detect what a phishing email looks like and understand that they will look very similar to an email from a trusted source. Spelling mistakes and poor grammar are strong indicators of a phishing attack. Additionally, organizations should implement email security to block spam emails and prevent malware and other viruses from attacking your laptops and devices. Companies who use Office 365 should strongly consider investing in Backup for Office 365, as Office 365 does not do this for you. In the event of human error, you can rest assured that your critical data is backed up and you can quickly retrieve it.
Ransomware is one of the most prominent cyberthreat methods. IDG says that total cybercrime damage will cost more than $6 trillion by 2021. For a quick rundown, ransomware can come in many different forms, but usually involves clicking on malicious links or attachments within emails or downloading or running untrusted software with the user having to pay ransom. Ransomware can also pop up via popular video chats like Skype and Microsoft Word. Working remotely during a pandemic means that businesses are relying on multiple platforms like video and email to communicate, which constitutes a higher risk for ransomware attacks.
How to Protect Your Business
Like phishing attacks, human error is a main culprit for ransomware attacks. The simplest way to prevent one is to avoid clicking on links and attachments from unknown sources, to avoid downloading or running suspicious software and to always be cautious when opening anything, even if it looks safe. It’s imperative to have a disaster recovery plan as well. This not only means to replicate critical data through Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), but also investing in solutions within Security as a Service (SECaaS), like email security and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM).
Not only is it crucial for your company to know what to do in the event that your network is compromised, but cybersecurity services were created to act as a shield in protecting your business from infection. For instance, Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) analyzes data logs to detect threats and find trends within your network. This allows you to have a better understanding of your organization as a whole and where your network is weak and needs patching. Bad guys are always going to attempt an attack. It comes down to preparedness on your end, which means your organization is equipped with a strong disaster recovery plan and has the proper cybersecurity tools in place to ensure the attempts are not successful.
While there are already so many different types of cyberthreats to be on the lookout for, don’t forget about the malicious world of advertising. Malvertising spreads malware through fake advertisements on browsers, social media and other public platforms. Our world lives on the internet and we see advertisements almost everywhere without even thinking about it. This is dangerous as it is, however, cybercriminals are more likely to use a pandemic for malvertising, simply because it’s a topic that affects everyone. Some potential examples to consider are advertisements that encourage users to click on links to receive free virus testing or face masks.
How to Protect Your Business
You’ve probably come across countless malvertising incidents in your day and didn’t even realize it. Just like with phishing and ransomware be sure to inspect whatever ad you’re about to click on. Analyze what platform it’s on, if the ad is from a company you trust, if it looks legitimate and make sure to check for obvious spelling and grammar issues. A simple rule of thumb is if it seems fishy from the get-go and you are questioning its integrity, you’re better off avoiding it altogether.
Cloud solutions are any company’s saving grace for cyberthreats like malvertising. Remember that with malvertising, comes malware, which puts your endpoints (laptops) and entire network at tremendous risk. Give yourself peace of mind and protect your business with Security as a Service (SECaaS) solutions.
Spear-phishing is a form of phishing, only it’s very targeted. According to CSO, phishing is generic, and hackers don’t really care about who they are attacking, they just want a wide net of victims to threaten. Spear-phishing digs deeper, which could mean several things, including conducting research on a specific individual within a company and then effectively targeting that individual via email. The primary tactic is via email; however, it can also be done on social media as well.
Hackers execute spear-phishing on social media by looking through Facebook walls, Twitter feeds and learning an individual’s interests to better target them. A spear-phishing attack on social media can go as far as a cybercriminal impersonating a victim’s family member via private messaging and encouraging them to click on bogus links that can eventually lead to malware or ransomware. As we mentioned before, cybercriminals love capitalizing on a crisis. A pandemic for instance, raises more concerns for spear-phishing, as a hacker can use that type of information to attack a specific victim or company.
How to Protect Your Business
The best ways to protect your business and employees is to first implement email security. Email security will flag suspicious emails and will instill an added layer of security that includes the user having to review the email before accepting it into their inbox. When it comes to social media, make sure there is limited access to business accounts and encourage employees to set their personal pages to private. This will decrease the likelihood of effectively targeting a victim. Also be sure to perform regular cybersecurity training. Include examples of what spear-phishing looks like so that employees understand what to watch out for.
Businesses like yours are already vulnerable as it is, and the fact of the matter is not if but when your corporation will fall victim to any one of these attacks, especially during a global crisis. While one of the easiest and most effective methods in reducing human error is instilling a strong cybersecurity culture across your organization, cloud solutions can secure your most essential data and give you peace of mind knowing that your business is always safe. The more mindful and careful you are, the better off you are.