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COVID-19: All the more reason to stay on top of cyber security


Johannesburg, 09 Apr 2020
Read time 2min 30sec

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on organisations across the globe, and forced businesses of every type and size to explore new ways of working that enforce social distancing and lockdown regulations. IT departments have been scurrying to get remote workers set up and put business continuity plans in place to ensure their organisations can still operate in these uncertain times.

And they’re not the only ones who have been busy. Bad actors are capitalising on the crisis, and honing their tools of malfeasance to lure unsuspecting users with COVID-19-related spam, phishing and ransomware campaigns.

So says Angela Mace, CRM and Events director at ITWeb, adding that now more than ever, companies need to ramp up their cyber security efforts. “With so many individuals working from home, the attack surface has widened exponentially, leaving many avenues for cyber criminals to exploit.”

According to Mace, security companies are reporting a dramatic increase in phishing attacks, ransomware and malicious spam campaigns, all of which are using the virus as a lure to get victims to click on links or open attachments in e-mails.

ITWeb Security Summit 2020

25 & 27 August at The Sandton Convention Centre

1 September at The Southern Sun Cape Town

COVID-19 will have a profound impact on how cyber security is handled going forward. Take advantage of the super-early bird registration and save 40% when you book and pay before 30 April.

“There's no doubt that due to this, we can expect to see a significant increase in the number of malware infections on PCs and phones alike, and organisations have to take the necessary steps to educate their users, customers and other third-party partners in cyber vigilance and hygiene, particularly when receiving communications with COVID-19 in the subject line.”

At the same time, Mace says businesses need to have the latest tools and solutions in place to ensure they can detect any malicious activity and mitigate any impact in the event of a security incident. “This becomes exponentially more difficult when practically their entire workforce are working from home.”

Mace says to make matters worse, it is more difficult for security teams to function effectively under these circumstances. “When everyone is working remotely, detecting and responding to malicious activity isn’t easy. Patching and updating systems also becomes more complicated when security personnel are not on-site.”

One thing is clear, she says, and that is businesses need to rethink their cyber security strategies, and re-evaluate their defences in light of the current crisis.

“This is just one of many reasons businesses cannot afford to miss this year’s Security Summit, which will now run from 25 to 27 August at the Sandton Convention Centre. COVID-19 will have a profound impact on how cyber security is handled going forward, and our experts will unpack all the latest trends and technologies from lessons learned during this time.”

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