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Cybersecurity Threats for Organizations during COVID19

Posted by: MK CS Team
Category: Cyber Security

Novel Coronavirus has coaxed the global healthcare system into an unbearable strain. Since there’s no proven cure for COVID-19, the healthcare industry was expecting an incomparable strain but the manufacturing and distribution industries have suffered equally due to this pandemic. Next in line is the digital industry; after wrecking, manufacturing, entertainment, and automobile industry, the ongoing pandemic is all set to rain its impact on online businesses.

Fraud by customers, triangulation frauds, and other modes of attacks like ransomware and DDoS are on a rise because of depleting resources. Lack of opportunities and no sign of reemergence is coaxing hackers to rely on unfair means for generating personal benefits. 

A good number of organizations minimized the initial impact of this pandemic because they had a well-established business continuity plan but now these enterprises are running into problems because BCPs are meant for a specific period and cannot be used as the new normal. It’s almost six months that this pandemic coaxed organizations into making their employees function remotely.

A lot of countries like Germany, New Zealand, Japan, and Italy have worked really on the pandemic and have almost flattened the curve but there’s a list of potential threats that are likely to disturb businesses in coming times: 

Threats Organizations will face due to COVID-19 includes

Data Breaches: If you are running an organization that receives payment online through credit, debit, or prepaid cards, be sure that you are on the list of hackers. Newbie and professionals hackers are eyeing for an opportunity to enter your system and leverage your redundancies for personal benefit.

A data breach should be the last thing an organization should be dealing with during this pandemic. Customers are already skeptical about spending their money because their jobs are at risk too and an additional risk of losing their credit card details will only make them leave your platform forever. 

Investing in requisite compliances and cybersecurity services should be the top priority for every enterprise that receives online payments. 

Credential Stuffing: By furnishing, you can ensure that hackers are unable to get inside your system but that is not enough to protect your customers. A huge percentage of customers use the same login credentials on a majority of sites because it is easier to memorize. 

Hackers are now targeting small organizations that provide streaming or subscription-based services. Once they hack into these not-so-popular enterprises, they steal login credentials and try to gain access to accounts on popular platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify. 

Credential Stuffing is perhaps the biggest threat because:

  • It is not considered to be a breach because hackers logged in using valid credentials
  • Companies are not held liable but customers churn because their security was compromised
  • There’s no way of estimating how many accounts were compromised

Here’s a set of preventive measures enterprises can take to avoid credential stuffing:

  • Location-based login to alert users when someone logs in from a new location.
  • Restrict the number of users who can use one account and keep sending alerts to the owner
  • Recommend users to change the password and make it more specific for your platform
  • Consider adding a login question to ensure only trustworthy users login
  • Render all chances of bulk stuffing by deploying system checks

Ineffective Business Continuity Plan: As mentioned earlier, BCPs are like placeholders, they hold the system in place until normalcy returns. In countries like India, where lockdown has been in effect for over 4 months now, organizations are suffering huge losses due to restricted movement of goods and people.

Business continuity plans are now unable to keep things in place, organizations are running out of option and taking strict measures like mass firing and cost-cutting. Both cost-cutting and mass-firing impact the production, customer service, and marketing of products and services.

Organizations will have to look into the upcoming challenges and start preparing for it. By ensuring employees about their job retention and by offering an elaborated work from home options, enterprises can keep the employees moving. The most important thing enterprises should be working right now is confidence. Both customer and employee confidence is necessary for organizations. 

Ransomware Attack: Market is suffering, there’s less demand for products, pending payments are stuck and new loans are not available. Both small scale and large scale enterprises are suffering. To keep the monthly expenses on the lower side, organizations are putting compliance renewals and certification assessments on hold. Organizations are also willing to spend less on data protection costs just to be in business.

While enterprises are cutting costs to remain in business, they are ignoring the potential threats like a ransomware attack, where hackers are constantly traversing your data-server for vulnerabilities. Once they have discovered these vulnerabilities or once they find that you are failing compliance requirements, they are likely to hold you at ransom.

It is better to pay the compliance and certification fee instead of paying hackers and ransomware attackers. Once you are held at ransom, it is tough to get free at a small price and the information will always will it to the news and bring you a bad name.

How Organizations Can Fight these Threats Robustly?

Well! The best of fighting existing and upcoming threats is to go by the established rules. If you are a business that deals with data related to healthcare, furnish HIPAA, if you are an e-commerce platform abide by norms of ISO and if you are a Fintech Start-up, furnish the 12 requirements of PCI DSS Certification.

Abiding by the intricate rules of varied compliances makes it easy for businesses to avoid a good number of threats mentioned here. Another important thing is to build a robust and reliable business continuity plan. A BCP that can keep processes running for at least six months should be the priority because 180 days provide key stakeholders with the opportunity to raise money or pivot for survival.

Final Thoughts

All industries are experiencing the trickle-down effect of coronavirus pandemic. While online businesses are flourishing, they are facing an incomparable number of threats. Credential stuffing, DDoS, or Ransomware attack, all of these threats are big enough to render businesses obsolete.

Be it a small scale or a multi-national company, all of them need to take calculated steps to avoid loopholes that can lead to incessant events of compromise and failure at varied fronts.

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