It is a well-known fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an increase in cybersecurity threats faced by organizations. The necessity of shifting all operations from physical to online modes, as well as the aura of uncertainty and chaos, has allowed cybercriminals to have a field day in carrying out their notorious affairs.
A report published by the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport recently reported that around 40% of companies (65% of medium-sized businesses and 64% of large businesses), as well as more than 25% of charities (51% of those being high-income ones), have fallen victim to some form of cyberattack in the previous year.
Stepping up to the challenge
Cyberattacks have been made easier for hackers due to the negligence and inability of many organizations to give priority to their cybersecurity. According to the report, there has been a noticeable drop in organizations using security monitoring tools compared to the previous year.
The cybersecurity problem is not helped by the fact that many organizations are unaware of the threats they face from hacker groups. This blissfulness is not ideal, as over a quarter of organizations are reported to have suffered from cyber attacks on a weekly basis, with phishing accounting for 83% of these attacks.
A sizeable impact
Frequent cyberattacks also result in enormous losses for companies. 20% of companies reported losing key assets, data, or revenue from such attacks, and even if any loss wasn’t explicitly observed, many victims of the attacks had to implement operational changes to ensure they did not suffer another similar attack.
However, there have been some notable changes to the priorities of companies, however, as 77% of businesses now consider cybersecurity as a high priority. The only problem that remains is converting this enthusiasm into action. Alarmingly, 84% of organizations are believed to have made no noteworthy changes to their cybersecurity despite the threat at hand.
The report suggests that to overcome the cybersecurity risk, organizations must monitor where their sensitive data is and work to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to protect it from being hacked into. After this is done, security and access management controls can be adopted to secure the data and allow limited authorized users to access it.
The report goes further by including notes on topics that will help with cybersecurity. These topics included: how to do secure work from home, how to secure meetings on all video conferencing platforms, and how to securely digitize your business.
The UK has launched a National Cyber Security Strategy in which they have invested £1.9 billion over five years into improving and helping build the resilience of businesses to cyber-attacks. Matt Warman, the Digital Infrastructure Minister, stressed that the UK could not allow the pandemic to further hamper the progress of the nation by disrupting their high cybersecurity standards and urged businesses to follow the National Cyber Security Centre’s expert guidance in order to help create a safer, better, online environment.