In the midst of a global pandemic COVID-9 and lockdowns internet usage has increased up to 70% and streaming services at least 12% worldwide according to a preliminary report by Forbes. Even streaming giants like Youtube and Netflix had to decrease their default resolution to relieve the strain on Internet Service Providers. With the increased internet traffic there is also an increase in concern regarding internet security.
Statistics show that cyberattacks are on the rise during COVID-19.
A research performed by Checkpoint shows that, “71% of security professionals have noticed an increase in security threats or attacks since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak.”
The COVID-19 outbreak has forced companies big and small to adapt and allow employees to work from home. Governments, hospitals, and universities are more conscious about losing access to their systems.
A particularly severe case of ransomware was reported in April 2020. Even IT services provider Cognizant became a victim of the well-known “Maze ransomware” leading to service disruptions for some of their clients. Cognizant expects to lose somewhere between $50m and $70m due to the ransomware attack. According to CEO Brian Humphries “He personally does not believe anybody is truly impervious to it, but the difference is how you manage it, and they tried to manage it professionally and maturely.”
It is now even more important to secure your systems. Setting up a firewall and keeping a backup is a must. With most employees working from home, using their personal computer. A ransomware attack on companies would cause more disruption and damage than it normally would.
Preventative measures you can take
- Make regular backups of your data and ensure their validity. Preferably keep a separate offline copy
- Do not open links in a suspicious email or click on dialog boxes, popups and ads.
- Practice safe browsing, visit and download content only from trusted sites.
- Keep your BIOS, operating system and security software up-to-date.
- Use separate systems for personal and professional use
- Educate yourself and your staff on the issue. Launch awareness campaigns.
Already Infected ? These are the steps you should take
- If you suspect anything, inform your IT department or competent authority.
- Reinforce a no-blame culture. It’s important that people report such incidences.
- Don’t pay the ransom. You’ll be funding and encouraging more attacks.
- Recovery might be possible. Check if a decryption tool is available for your ransomware variant.
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