It is no secret that the Coronavirus pandemic has brought a new wave of cyber risks to internet users. In this article, we briefly look at the increase in cyber risks, the reasons for the surge, and the reasonable response for mitigating those risks.
Cyber criminals are taking advantage of COVID-19 pandemic to scam, phish and attack people for financial gains and to the detriment of their victims. Cyber criminals are coming up with fake websites for CORONAVIRUS related information updates and products such as vaccines, testing and protective kits, in attempts to scam and phish their victims. For instance, Google stated recently that its systems detected 18 million malware and phishing Gmail messages per day related to COVID-19, in addition to 240 million COVID-19 related daily spam messages.
The stakes for the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of computing resources and sensitive information have soared as more critical business processes, social and religious interactions have moved in an unprecedented fashion to online platforms.
The cost of falling victim to cyber attack continue to grow. A survey shows that:
Why are we seeing this heightened wave of cyber threats and attacks? The answer is simple – cyber criminals always exploit crisis situations to take advantage of people’s emotions, curiosity, constraints, and exposures. Would this change? Possibly not, so long as cyber criminals continue to derive benefits from their activities.
Further, the increase in the use of videoconferencing, remote access, and VPN technologies warranted by the pandemic has expanded the surface areas through which cyber criminals could attack internet users.
The reasonable response
Unfortunately, there is not much we can do, at least for now, to stop cyber criminals from trying out their skills and tools in attempt to compromise systems and data. However, there are things we can do to reduce the odd of their success. Both individual users and corporate organizations have critical parts to play in this. Here are some important things to do.
Organizations should train users, and individual users should get up to speed on their understanding of the inherent risks of using computer on the internet. As a user, you need to understand the security behavior and precautions necessary to mitigate the risk of falling victim of the ever-increasing cyber threats. Such necessary behavior and precautions will include:
Organizations also need to:
About the author
Michael O Bayere is a certified public accountant (CPA), an auditor, and information security practitioner with over 20 years of combined experience in accounting, financial reporting, taxation, auditing, and information security management in both private and public sectors. In 2016, he founded CAS Assurance, LLC, a CPA firm focused on helping small and medium sized organizations to improve their accounting and financial reporting systems, minimize tax liabilities, achieve operational efficiencies, manage risks, and improve compliance posture to achieve better overall success.
Michael holds two master’s degrees (accounting and information security management) from NOVA southeastern university. He is a certified internal auditor (CIA), certified information systems auditor (CISA), and certified information systems security professional (CISSP). Michael can be reached at 954-362-7113.