Cybercrime in the coronavirus era. It’s not over!

November 18, 2020

COVID-19 seriously affected the development of global economies. The unexpected interruption of regular activities changed the working methodology of businesses, bringing new cyber risks to the table. The pandemic led companies to make abrupt changes where the struggle to maintain their stability and their security became one the most important concerns.

The effect of the pandemic is still ongoing, and nobody knows when it will end. While many leaders face significant challenges, trying to remain resilient in the face of financial and operational pressure brought with the pandemic, others are still waiting and wondering if or when will we return to the old normality. Is this a possibility?

It is well known that the operational and financial stability of companies is at stake, but many are unaware that their security and integrity are also at risk. Without proper management and protocols, cybersecurity attacks could harm businesses financially and operationally. Looking at it that way, cybersecurity should be considered important or more important than other projects.

The pandemic arrived from the first quarter of the year, transforming all aspects of our daily lives. Home office became the new custom, online shopping became in some cases the only viable option; E-commerce increased like never before and so did the consumption of video games, series and video conferences. The awareness of how vulnerable people and companies were becoming due to abrupt digital changes did not stop the cybercrime, on the contrary, the vulnerability displayed was the access window that the attacker had long waited to increase their targets and perpetrate their crimes.

Companies now more than ever must understand the importance of protecting and managing the integrity of their data, networks, systems, and devices to avoid hacks, process disruptions, information theft, etc. It's not about if it happens, but when.

Home office increased the vulnerabilities of companies, as well as the rapid migration to the cloud, which generated various configuration errors that turn out to be the main cause of cyberattacks, without having to be very complex. Cyber education is essential in the COVID-19 business environment to prevent employees from falling victims while working at home and at the office.

Here are some interesting facts from the latest reports that everyone should know until the course of November of this year (2020). Take note:

  • According to the consulting firm Forrester 80% of the security breaches that have occurred during the pandemic have had to do with Privileged Access Management. - Computer World
  • The Internet Crime Complaint Center receives around 3,000-4,000 daily complaints. Some scammers choose to create fake domains, COVID charities, fraudulent teams, and in some cases blatant extortion, so be aware! - BeINCryto
  • The FBI affirms that cybercriminals have quadrupled during the pandemic. – BeINCryto
  • A new cybersecurity challenge is generated every time customers moves from virtual servers to the cloud or adopt a new infrastructure; home office represents a challenge since employees are outside companies control environment. - eSemanal
  • Cybercrime has increased throughout Latin America by an average of 74% during the COVID-19 pandemic. - Mundocontact
  • In Mexico, 62% of companies are concerned about the security of their data while working from home during the global health crisis. - Mundocontact

The FBI suggests that some of these crimes may be motivated by belligerent foreign actors. Even so, old scam tactics continue to be used amid this pandemic. Recently it was discovered that malicious actors used fake quotes from the British Royal Family to bring victims.

To make the deceptions more convincing, cybercriminals study the websites and social media behavior of their victims' employees, making it easier to compromise the integrity of company data and impacting the employment and legal status of those involved. In a health emergency like this, attackers’ prey on fear to run scams, while people search for symptoms, meanings, and covid-19 on diverse search engines.

Recommendations for business users and in general

  • Use strong passwords and avoid leaving them in the hand or in the sight of other people.
  • Check that the participants in your conferences and video calls are authorized and required according to the issues to be discussed in the remote sessions.
  • Do not open links and attachments that come in emails from unknown senders. One click could download malicious code or compromise sensitive information.
  • Corroborate that the emails, messages, or links that are received or consulted are valid. Avoid responding to dubious communications regarding general current affairs: “contingency”, “Coronavirus”, “technical support”, “remote support”, “request to change password”, among others; Y
  • Browse secure websites. Validate that the web address of the sites begins with https: //, as well as that they have a padlock icon to the left of the address.

At THETA432, we understand how difficult things got during COVID-19. Our team of experts is here to respond and look over you. Whether you are looking for embedded analysts with deep understanding of intrusion analysis to help contain an incident, or a full team with various specialties, we provide a full suite of ongoing cyber defense services, and offer one of the most comprehensive incident response services, bringing deep visibility into intrusions.

What are you waiting for? Get to know us or request a demo and see how we can strengthen your protocols and keep you safe from attacks and threats.

Sources:

  • Computer World. (2020, June 02). Los ciberdelincuentes explotan la gestión de accesos durante la pandemia. Website of Computer World: https://cso.computerworld.es/cibercrimen/los-ciberdelincuentes-explotan-la-gestion-de-accesos-durante-la-pandemia
  • Forbes. (2020, April 15). Ciberseguridad, una prioridad en tiempos de pandemia: DSTI. Website of Forbes: https://www.forbes.com.mx/tecnologia-ciberseguridad-coronavirus-consejos/
  • Lucian, A. (2020, April 19). FBI: El cibercrimen se ha cuadruplicado durante la pandemia de Coronavirus. Website of BeINCrypto: https://es.beincrypto.com/fbi-cibercrimen-cuadruplicado-durante-pandemia-coronavirus/
  • Nieto, A. (2020, August 3). Ciberseguridad: la gran vencedora durante la pandemia. Website of eSemanal: https://esemanal.mx/2020/08/ciberseguridad-la-gran-vencedora-durante-la-pandemia/
  • Redacción Política. (2020, September 29). Alerta sobre aumento exponencial de cibercrimen empresarial en la pandemia. Website of El Espectador: https://www.elespectador.com/noticias/politica/alerta-sobre-aumento-exponencial-de-cibercrimen-empresarial-en-la-pandemia/
  • Mundo contact. (2020, July 01). Cibercrimen aumenta 74% en AL durante pandemia. Website of: https://mundocontact.com/cibercrimen-aumenta-74-en-al-durante-pandemia/

Authored by
Jorge Daniel Tejeda