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COVID-19 'biggest-ever cyber security threat to hit businesses'
31 March 2020
The COVID-19 outbreak is forcing millions of employees to work from home. This means countless organisations are faced with a unique challenge: how to keep as many business-critical functions running as possible whilst maintaining adequate security.
Phishing attacks have risen an unprecedented 667 per cent in the UK compared to February, as malicious actors trick users via fake coronavirus alerts. Government statistics revealed that 75 per cent of large organisations were hacked last year, meaning this enhanced threat is all the more worrying.
James Stickland, CEO of authentication platform Veridium, highlights that COVID-19 is now posing the largest-ever cyber security threat of recent times. He believes it has shone a light on technology, forcing enterprises to innovate, however, some companies are placing their business at risk by taking shortcuts on security measures.
James Stickland commented: “What makes this situation so difficult are the timeframes. Where typical changes of this scale are planned, researched, deployed and tested over months and even years, the UK now has just weeks to overcome some very real problems. These circumstances, albeit challenging and worrying, indeed present a long term opportunity for businesses to reassess their security strategies. Many companies are facing increasing scrutiny over their identity verification requirements, particularly video conferencing tools which have exploded in popularity. At this current time, invoking business continuity must be prioritised – ensuring clients are serviced and secure authentication for remote employees is provided.”
Stickland continued: “Ensuring that remote workers don't fall foul of phishing attacks when resetting passwords will be crucial for employees working from home. There has been a 667 per cent increase in funded cyberattacks on passwords, which are already the weakest link in the security trail, being responsible for over 80 per cent of data breaches.
“Software based authentication that can be delivered remotely will be key to improving cybersecurity for home workers. Authentication measures that require passwords or PINs put pressure on already inundated or unavailable IT helpdesks through resets. More and more organisations are realising the benefits of taking a multi factor biometric approach to security, which can efficiently safeguard sensitive employee and customer data whilst future-proofing their business.”
Stickland concluded: “The way the world works will change after this – individuals and businesses will rethink their priorities. Flexible working will be more accepted, security will matter more, and relationships will matter more. In the same way it takes a cyber-breach to invest in improving security, this pandemic will make a number of businesses overhaul their remote working strategies. It will be very interesting to see how the business and security world will change.”