Effects of the Pandemic on Cybersecurity and its Countermeasures
COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation that has extensive and far reaching consequences. In view of this current situation, the pandemic has caused drastic effects on every field, every sector, ranging from business to healthcare, every person from various walks of life. Also, it has affected the usual functioning and administration of every industry be it in any corner of the world. This has called on for alarms to rebuild the usual, existing, age-old techniques as well as technologies that were still in practice regardless of the increasing constraints.
Due to the Corona virus outbreak, businesses big and small have suffered to a large extent. This situation has led to unemployment of many skilled as well as unskilled workers of the industry worldwide. As a result, the international economy has suffered as a whole. In face of these high levels of unemployment, increase in numbers of cyber crimes is natural. Cyber crimes have been prevalent since ages and can be of varied natures. They target via system vulnerabilities or simply social engineering. Cyber crimes have started increasing in number and intensity thus having different effects on different sectors of the industry as elaborated below.
COVID-19 impacts on various sectors of the industry as follows:
- Healthcare industry (Health services): The ongoing situation imposes increased levels of risks on the already fragile infrastructures of the healthcare sector due to various existing vulnerabilities of the system. Healthcare databases were targets of cybercriminals even before this pandemic came into picture. But, because of COVID-19, hospitals and other healthcare organizations are under tremendous pressure and thus maintenance of proper records, safeguarding patient’s information has become the greatest challenge. According to reports, this has driven a rise in targeted, sophisticated cyber attacks with intentions of stealing valuable COVID-19 data thus disrupting care operations. These institutions are at high risks with respect to being targets of well organized, sophisticated cyber attacks.
- Private sector: Businesses have suffered due to exponential decrease in revenue, continued expenditures in spite of lowered or no incomes at all and much more. To sustain through this situation, all businesses are in a rat race of protecting their businesses. Competition among organizations have risen. In order to prove oneself, organizations might knock out their competitors by getting hold of the competitor organization’s proprietary information with a motive of misusing it or by simply disrupting the competitor organization’s systems by exploiting various prevalent system vulnerabilities.
- Technology sector: For more than a decade, social media has been one of the fastest growing industries in the technology sector. Social media is used extensively by people for purposes such as getting a job, advertising one’s venture, etc. For these purposes a lot of information has been put onto social media profiles. Also in view of increasing unemployment people have resorted to online mode for finding jobs. Cyber criminals targeting social media profiles have been prevalent since years. Sophisticated, well organized attacks lead to theft of identity with intentions of misusing this masqueraded identity and also might misuse huge amounts of personal data available on social media.
Many other sectors are also at the pinpoint of getting attacked or hacked but above mentioned are at greater risks.
- Usage of strong passwords.
- Creating awareness among all employees or the concerned workforce.
- Avoid opening suspicious emails or attachments (phishing). Suspicious mails are generally those that contain scary messages, demand for immediate action, and seem to have come from a legitimate institution. Beware of this, because even if it seems to be true it might not be. It simply is masquerading as a legitimate institution to influence you with intentions of stealing information, identity.This kind of theft can also be performed with the help of phone calls luring individuals into providing personal details, also known as vishing. Try contacting the legitimate institution in such a case, and only after confirmation provide only the necessary details.
- Inform the bank immediately if there has been withdrawal from your credit or debit cards that does not involve you.
- Customers, commoners should be aware of various social engineering techniques in practice that aim at some sort of robbery be it monetary, identity wise. Refrain yourselves from providing any personal information to others, be it your friend, your neighbour, your relative, anyone.
- Backup all your online, offline data as well as your data on social media by using updated softwares, modifying security and privacy settings respectively.
January, 05, 2021