As the Covid-19 situation develops, businesses, cities and entire countries have adapted their way of life and working. The majority of employees are now working from home, using video conferencing technology to continue standard meetings. Between all of these changes and the uncertainty surrounding the virus, cyber attackers are exploiting the new vulnerabilities found in this new remote-working culture and in creating scams related to Covid-19. Consequently, Europol and Interpol have announced that they will be taking greater measures to investigate and intercept Covid-19 scams and hacks.
This announcement followed a recent report, published by Europol, analysing the factors that have presented vulnerabilities in this unprecedented time, including:
- Increased demand for certain goods, such as medicines, masks and other protective gear
- Remote working, which has led to almost full dependence on digital services
- Anxiety and misunderstanding of the virus or situation itself
- Disruptions to normal life, including decreased ability to leave one’s home
The combination of these factors, among others, has led to a startling increase in cyberattacks. Crimes which may have been more visible before are now hiding in the shadows of Covid-19 restrictions. Or, like the cyberattackers who are actively creating Covid-19 scams and misinformation campaigns, they are actively exploiting the current situation. Now, more than ever, employees must be conscious of potential phishing or ransomware attempts.
Key targets for cybercriminals in this crisis include significant institutions and organisations, including hospitals and critical national infrastructure. This can be deadly; for example, it only takes one hospital worker to unknowingly click on a link that releases ransomware into the hospital’s system, allowing hackers to hold their systems hostage or granting them access to sensitive data about patients.
Though Interpol and Europol are doing their part to stop these attacks, it is important to take a look at your company culture and make sure that you are putting measures in place to prevent these kinds of hacks. Tools like Compumatica’s CompuMail Gateway, for example, ensures end-to-end encryption for emails, and filters out potentially harmful phishing emails. Our solution, CyDesk, provides ongoing monitoring of cyber health across your third-party ecosystem, highlighting any recent hacks that could disrupt your organisation.
In times like these, people need to be as vigilant as ever to ensure that cyberattackers don’t capitalise on the vulnerabilities caused by the pandemic.