One of the biggest concerns of organisations across the world right now is cyber security. With workforces now at home connecting to their business’s networks remotely, ensuring these connections are secure is of paramount importance during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

Ensuring endpoint security is reliable and robust is a prerequisite, but so is training for staff who may not have the insights and awareness to combat ransomware and scareware attacks.

Nearly every type of established cyber-attack has been used with coronavirus themes, including business email compromise, credential phishing, malware, and spam email campaigns. The most popular and effective attack is credential phishing. The threat actors behind these attacks run from small unknown actors to prominent threat actor. UK Government statistics revealed that 75% of large organisations were hacked last year, meaning this enhanced threat is all the more worrying.

Cyber criminals are leveraging the emergency situation and targeting people via phishing emails tricking them into clicking on malicious links and giving up their sensitive information. While companies continue to fight against the increasing cyber-crimes and threats, there’s a lot happening around the world.

The Zero Trust Principle in Cyber Security

Ensuring endpoint security is reliable and robust is a prerequisite, but so is education for staff who may not have the insights and awareness to combat ransomware and scareware attacks.Phishing attacks have risen an unprecedented 667% in the UK compared to February, as malicious actors trick users via fake coronavirus alerts. Government statistics revealed that 75% of large organisations were hacked last year, meaning this enhanced threat is all the more worrying.The term “Zero Trust Principle” has been making rounds in the cyber security landscape.

The zero trust principle implies that no entity should be trusted within or outside the organisation. It is a holistic approach to network security that entails a wide range of technologies and assets. 

While traditional IT security uses a castle-and-moat concept, where it is difficult to gain access from outside the network, but insiders are trusted by default. The zero trust principle suggests that no one should be trusted by default, irrespective of whether they are an employee, a management leader, or a third-party service provider. It assumes that attackers can be on both within and outside of the network, so no machines, networks, or users should be automatically trusted.

Although the size of the company doesn’t matter in terms of developing a response plan to cyber attacks or cybersecurity preparedness, there is a big difference between established, international corporations, and SMEs. 

Big firms often have the resources required to combat cyber-attacks as they often have well-structured security plan in place which also entails a response plan to cyber-attacks, funds required to compensate their customers or stakeholders in case their data is compromised in the breach, and skilled professionals who know exactly how to tackle cyber security threats and attacks.

SMEs are often not as well prepared for fighting off a cyber attack and according to Verizon, 43% of breach victims were small businesses. 

These attacks come from phishing, social engineering, malware, insider threats, or brute-force attacks, small businesses often suffer the wrath of data breaches and cyber-attacks.  This doesn’t mean that small businesses do not want to invest in cyber security, but they have a lot on their platter to deal within a limited budget which makes it difficult for them to dedicate a sufficient amount of resources towards cyber security.

When it comes to remote working, things only get worse but again, the worst affected by the Covid-19 crisis is the small scaled startups and SMEs that are still trying to work out how to keep their operations and management functioning without risking the security of their organisation.

Get started with published frameworks, such as the one given by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) who offer robust framework.

By implementing a number of processes, training, and technology measures, companies can reduce the likelihood of cyber-attacks and avoid experiencing a cyber crisis to the challenges related to COVID-19.  But, there’s definitely something you can do to protect your organisation from cyber-attacks caused due to remote work.

  • Assess your company’s core IT infrastructure for remote working.
  • Implement strong security for networks and devices operating during remote work.
  • Integrate cybersecurity plans in your business model for remote working. Make sure security is one of the top priorities to consider while shifting to remote work.
  • Establish security protocols for remote workers to ensure authentication and authorisation
  • Limit access to databases containing sensitive information.
  • Use secure tools to ensure protection of data. Train remote employees to use these tools and features securely.
  • Update your cyber security response plan to address the challenges of COVID-19.
  • Maintain awareness about security, location, performance, and overall work hygiene of all employees.

While this is not a comprehensive list of security measures, these will definitely help you get started and maintain better security in your organisation.

Source: Cyber Security Intelligence