Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many businesses and companies to adjust in order to ensure their networks and data are secure from cyber attacks.
Despite provincial restrictions around Canada starting to ease, many companies are still planning on working from home for the foreseeable future. Setting up and paying for two-factor authentication or VPN access can be costly, but can also help prevent attacks that would harm your company. Businesses spend on average $14,000 per year for cyber liability insurance, according to a 2017 report by Statistics Canada. But only 14 per cent of medium-sized businesses purchase this type of coverage. Among small-sized businesses the number is lower: only seven per cent. That’s a sizable oversight, as small-sized businesses make up 97.9 per cent of employer businesses in Canada.
There have been numerous instances of cyber attacks on companies during the pandemic, including carmaker Honda, which had its business impacted in several countries. Several big name celebrities were also hacked on Twitter earlier in July, resulting in poor public image. These attacks can tarnish the reputation of companies or high-value individuals and result in financial loss while trying to recover. As businesses consider the benefits of cyber insurance, here are five threats to be aware of in 2020:
Increased Scope of Phishing Messages
While phishing attempts were already a problem pre-pandemic, remote workers can now expect to see emails impersonating officials from the Canadian Revenue Agency and the World Health Organization, among others. Once an employee clicks on a link, they could be taken to a website that looks legitimate, but is actually a dummy site set up by hackers to mirror sites of legitimate organizations and steal personal information for later use.
Rise in Social Engineering
Social engineering has always been a successful attack vector for hackers. Hackers know that employees will now need to communicate with IT and management remotely, and they will look to exploit that need. Hackers can pose as IT support, as representatives of the company’s financial departments, or as managers in the company requesting sensitive company information, to name just a few examples.
More Opportunity for Physical Access-Based Attacks
With offices now standing empty, these are now also highly vulnerable. Hackers may attempt to gain physical access and either steal your devices or easily install malicious hardware or software on them.
Manufacturers are rushing out new update releases or new software versions as they respond to businesses needing remote operational capabilities. However, there may be overlooked security issues that emerge from this. The same applies to current software. If security updates are rushed without proper testing, your systems may be even more vulnerable once your company devices are updated.
Theft of Video Conferencing Credentials
As each employee logs on to your video conference app or website, a hacker could be looking in, as well. Hackers can post video conferencing credentials on the dark web, which leaves your company’s proprietary information – and in some cases, your entire systems – open for anyone to steal. When setting up video conferences, be sure to use passwords and use the waiting-room feature so that you’re able to screen who is attempting to join your meeting. For ideal safety, change passwords for each video conference.
For support aligning yourself or your business with necessary cyber coverage, contact an NFP advisor today.
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