COVID 19 Cybersecurity Alerts Scream Across the Globe

05.28.2020 | Soliton Blog

cybersecurity attacks have peaked during covid 19 pandemic and with remote workers peaking security protocols have been reduced

It’s vital to ensure that sensitive data is separated from IT equipment and to encourage the use of secure systems for remote work, the most effective control being dual-factor authentication. The rapid shift to remote working has resulted in the growth of personal devices being used for business. The readiness of IT teams to work remotely will vary from business to business. Providing a critical security checklist for new systems and system changes can help. This is especially important if personally-owned devices are to be used. Testing all remote access systems is even more important than ever – just because remote access “works” doesn’t mean it’s working properly.

Despite your method of defense, the fact is that hackers are not only exploiting the pandemic but the nature of expanding remote workforces is lowering defenses.

COVID 19 Cyberattacks

Just like every crisis, malicious attacks are spiking under the veil of the Coronavirus. The remote work reality, has compromised systems due to the ignorance of a remote workforce.

According to a joint alert from the Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency:

“Both [Cybersecurity and Infrastructure and Security Agency] and [National Cyber Security Centre] are seeing a growing use of COVID-19-related themes by malicious cyber actors,” according to the alert. “At the same time, the surge in teleworking has increased the use of potentially vulnerable services, such as virtual private networks, amplifying the threat to individuals and organizations.”

Google recently reported millions of attempted attacks per day across the Google product platforms. They emphasized classic email attacks targeting Government workers, healthcare and non-profit organizations.

“Our systems have detected 18 million malware and phishing Gmail messages per day related to COVID-19, in addition to more than 240 million COVID-related daily spam messages. Our machine learning models have evolved to understand and filter these threats,” Google reports.

This reality pushes two type of responses, reactive or proactive. The best response is a proactive one.


Having a Proactive Response During the Crisis

Incident response playbooks should be checked to see if they can still be applied remotely. It may be necessary to draft a short-form, temporary version to deal with the current situation. A lengthy email about cybersecurity may go unread by many. When crafting email communication, suggest the most important points (most likely phishing awareness and device security) but think of the most engaging way to get the message across.

Consider the following questions when preparing your response to the crisis:

  1. Have you scaled your VPN concentrators, portals, and gateways to handle the flux of a remote workforce? Have you tested the scale of your infrastructure?
  2. Is there a pool of laptops available for an entire remote workforce? How should allocation of new equipment be allocated?
  3. Do you have limitations for audio/video conference bridges for remote workforce? Are they secure sources, or do you need to consider other telework solutions?

In order to guarantee company wide success, responsibility for issues needs to be led by the executive leadership and not just the IT team.

Utilize Secure Desktops To Close Blind Spots

Hackers also target medical devices because of low-security standards, their malware is capable of emulating normal user traffic, making it extremely complicated to differentiate malicious activity leading to data access.  Once the hackers have penetrated the system, they focus on ransomware and other forms of fraud crippling any normal or necessary progression. Sometimes, the best offense against hackers, is defined by a good defense. Using Modern application security gateway designs combined with end to end network security frameworks have become flexible in both form factor and scale, essentially becoming a pervasive model.

Soliton SecureDesktop is, an end to end Secure Remote Desktop application that is not just valued for security, but also ease of use. It has dual certificate authentication, and it’s a tool that IT managers trust.