Written by
Sricharan T.
Published on
October 4, 2020

Impact of Covid Pandemic on Cyber Security

Cyber Security

In the last few months, our digital space has increased and taken over our physical space as we move around physically much lesser and wander around the digital space more widely. People were forced to collaborate Digitally to get the work done. We have seen a jump in the data usage in the last few months. The jump in Digital communication has given opportunities to many fraudsters to utilize the volume and increase the crimes in the Digital space. Traditional companies, Schools, Universities are usually done in the physical presence and were not prepared for the sudden Digital transformation that have been necessitated due to this pandemic. Many companies have been petrified on cyber security and have never allowed people to work from home. Many of the institutions have not framed Information security policies and therefore do not have rules to implement the same. The Covid pandemic is forcing many of the IT departments to implement Information security policies and prevent people from falling into the trap of fraudsters.


One of the popular Digital Collaboration application that is being used by millions during this pandemic is the Zoom Video Conference calling application. In the whole of 2019 Zoom had about 1.9 million users and it jumped to around 22.2 million users. Unfortunately, criminals used this pandemic time, hacked user credentials from known sources and entered video conferences randomly and posted unwanted messages confusing the calls. The criminals made similar attempts with WebEx calls, another popular video conferencing app from CISCO. These type of sudden entry into Digital business meetings are called ZoomBomb. The million-dollar question is how the criminals gained the credentials to the conferences.


The most common method of gaining user credentials is using the phishing technique on user emails. Many people fall for phishing, the reason being many of the emails that come from fraudsters comes with a legal threat of bank account being disabled, Issues with Income Tax and without looking at the correct domain many people give out the credentials. This is also due to the fact during this time the number of novice digital users has increased drastically. In an attention economy, many of the phishing fraudsters use innovative techniques to demand the attention of users. Fake emails of recipients being sued for something makes people to act like opening an attachment and so on. The best way to avoid is for the IT managers to constantly communicate about the latest scamming technique being used by Fraudsters.


One of the real threats during the pandemic is the use of ransomware, a software designed to act to disrupt their system and forced people to pay money to remove the malicious software. WannaCry is a Ransomware which demands data from the business and ensures people give data to remove Ransomware. This Ransomware has affected people in 150 countries during the pandemic. The Ransomware is a bigger business threat that has been unleashed by the cyber criminals. The IT managers must do regular patch management and manage the credentials effectively to manage the ransomware. The solution exists in the form of best practices and any lacuna in the same can impact an entire organization and bring the business to halt. The threat of Ransomware encourages us to store data on the cloud which has proven to be more secure rather than the laptops and a regular back must be taken with recovery time in perspective.

During this lockdown, the technology is enabling us to not only work but also ensures our food delivery, our essentials delivery on time. The basic solutions to our cyber security solution include frequent change of passwords, to not open an attachment from an unknown person, not falling for any legal threats on emails from unknown sources (Specifically verifying the domain name) etc.  The phishing scams have been the most common way by which fraudsters have entered the system. It is important to separate our office work from personal work when we are working from home. Work from home option during this pandemic have given way to the increase in the number of remote workers and therefore have given wider options for the criminals to attack businesses for data. An IT security policy which is robust to prevent the cyber security attacks is a must for every institution.

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