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Why will COVID-19 bolster the cyber-security industry?

Today, one of the most burning issues is COVID-19 and the tremors it has sent around the globe. A novel coronavirus which purportedly started at the fish market in Wuhan, China, managed to spread over hundreds of nations, killing thousands. Although termed as a health and sanitation issue, it has stirred problems in every other industry.

About COVID-19

The companies are locked down, factories are closed, employees are laid off, streets are empty, and the market is an all-time low. Nobody could have estimated the effects of COVID-19 would have on other fields, but it did manage to take toll on the hospitality and service sector in a short time.

Coronavirus disease 2019 or popularly known as COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2).

Symptoms of COVID-19

Common signs of infection include:

• Respiratory symptoms

• Fever and cough

• Shortness of breath

• Breathing difficulties In more severe cases, the infection can cause

• Pneumonia

• Severe acute respiratory syndrome

• Kidney failure

How does the virus spread?

• The infection is spread from one person to others via respiratory droplets produced from the airways, often during coughing or sneezing.

• Time from exposure to onset of symptoms is generally between 2 and 14 days, with an average of 5 days.

The standard method of diagnosis is by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) from a nasopharyngeal swab or sputum sample, with results within a few hours to 2 days. Antibody assays can also be used, using a blood serum sample, with results within a few days.

How pandemic can be a threat to business?

The cybercriminals have taken the most advantage out of the global pandemic. They have been spreading hoax news, clickbait videos, and sending spam in emails and messages. This is the infamous way to steal credentials and other private information.

“COVID-19 is presenting not only a physical threat but a biggest cyber threat as well,” said Lotem Finkelstein, Check Point’s head of threat intelligence.

The first strand of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) originated in late December 2019. It rose from Wuhan and infected a few other provinces. Within a matter of 2 months, the countries like Italy and Iran reported COVID-19 infections. Since then, it has brought drastic threats to different sectors both physically and digitally.

People relied on the digital forms of communications to learn about the virus. Digital news, social media, and emails were the common form of communication used to share information about the virus. During the pandemic, US Officials warned people about malicious attackers seeking opportunities aiming at the pandemic. The most common tactics reported included, Spear phishing, misleading users with fake emails regarding global coronavirus appearing to be from government officials, that when clicked, cause users to load malicious software onto their devices.

Common types of coronavirus scams

• Phishing emails and phone calls impersonating entities. These include the World Health Organization, government authorities, people confirmed to have the coronavirus and legitimate businesses such as travel agents and telecommunications companies

• People receiving misinformation about the coronavirus, being sent by text, social media, and email

• Products claiming to be a vaccine or cure for the coronavirus

• Investment scams claiming coronavirus has created opportunities.

Although people were wary about fake news spreading around, active attacks were being observed where sender- pretending to be from authorized officials such as Digital Control Prevention and other authorized government organization researching on the Novel Corona Virus sending manipulative emails compelling victims to click them.

The attackers are easily able to trick unsuspecting victims into accessing or downloading documents that appeared to come from official health authorities, only to deliver malicious code that could co-opt a target’s computer. Most people end up sharing such hoax news on social media.

People sharing the news of dolphins and swans in Venice widely on social media became one of the prime examples of hoax news.

Forbes Magazine reported that since the widespread of the virus, a massive number of new websites ad domains have been registered using the coronavirus or COVID-19 names.

How can you stay protected?

There no way stopping cyberattackers from sending you fake emails and messages, however, you can take precautions to prevent being a victim.

Just as after COVID-19 being declared a pandemic, you need to change your social habits and routines to prevent infection rates. An abrupt change in your online habits can help maintain high levels of cybersecurity.

• Be wary of emails or pop-up carrying messages such as “Government has now offered an exclusive cure for Coronavirus for $100” or “The scientists have found the vaccine for COVID-19.” Such messages are fraudulent and they highlight the clickbait activities.

• Rely on valid information regarding COVID-19 from only reliable sources such as the website of government offices and health care agencies such as WHO (World Health Organization), CDC (Center for disease control and measures) and NIH (National Institutes of Health).

• Ensure to check the domain or URL. Spelling errors, lookalike domains in emails or websites are common. And, also make sure emails you are getting from your workspace are valid and not sent from lookalike domains by the attackers with the motive of gather information of your company.

• Ensure that you are using a valid sources to order online materials. Do not trust any attractive advertisements.

• Use a legitimate VPN for internet access wherever possible. This prevents online phishing activities.

• Verify the authenticity of the person or organization before responding. Make sure to read the issued warning about scammers by WHO (World Health Organization).

• Digital viruses can spread faster than the physical ones. Accessing unsafe email or clicking on a clickbait advertisement can contaminate the entire system in your organization, leading to a great loss of your company’s valuable assets.

Update your systems and applications regularly to mend any weaknesses if any that may be exploited.

• Keep anti-virus software up to date.

• Stay away from the public or unsecured wi-fi

• If you have logged in your social media accounts or any of the accounts, make sure you have logged out properly.

• Make sure to think twice before entering into HTTP websites. Http websites are not secured and also could be a honey trap for you planned by attackers.

• Read and learn more about social engineering and how attackers can use their tools to access your private data.

• If you own a business then, make sure to have an incident response plan ready to implement.

• Make sure your cybersecurity experts are ready for actions in case of urgency so that the attacks cannot cause a great loss to your business.

Conclusion

As work from home is taking rise, the remote workers are prone to different forms of cyberattacks.

Apricorn Research published last year found that one-third of IT decision-makers admitted their organizations had suffered a data breach as a result of remote working. Further, 50 percent were unable to guarantee that their data was adequately secured when being used by remote workers.

You are advised to take the best security measures when it comes to working remotely.

Searchable Design LLC is a premier Digital Agency in Des Moines, Iowa. We offer handy tips and techniques to keep your work station safe.