The Importance of Cyber-Security During Covid-19

It is during times of uncertainty like these that cybercriminals take advantage of our vulnerabilities. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has reported an increase in cyber threats that directly relate to Coronavirus. With many employers making the necessary adjustments to allow staff to work from home this has opened new opportunities for hackers and cybercriminals.

There has been a huge spike in phishing emails since the start of Coronavirus. Examples include fake emails from HMRC offering tax refunds, fake emails from the World Health Association (WHO) offering safety advice on Coronavirus or asking for help with fundraising and various other emails claiming to have cures or driving fear.

There has also been an increase in the number of fake internal HR or IT communications. Such as surveys requiring office passwords to access.

Cybercriminals are playing on people’s fears and confusion around this unprecedented situation. Employees now working from home are at an increased risk of falling foul. They may have never worked from home before and be stressed and worried. They may be using new applications and systems they are unfamiliar with and don’t have their usual colleagues at hand that they look to for support. Cybersecurity may not be forefront in their minds.

It is important to ensure your business is protected and that your employees are aware of the risks.

 

How to be Vigilant

Phishing emails can be very professional looking and convincing. NCSC have some good guidance on how to spot a phishing email. But the main points are:

  • Is the sender claiming to be from someone official (your bank, a government department)? Is the overall design and quality of the email what you would expect from this organisation?
  • Do they refer to you by your name or ‘valued customer’, ‘colleague’, ‘friend’.
  • Have you been told you have a limited time to respond? Does it create a sense of urgency?
  • Does the message make you feel panicked, fearful, hopeful?
  • Does the sender’s name or email address look legitimate?
  • Is there poor punctuation and spelling?
  • If you have clicked on a link and are using a work device, contact your IT department
  • If you have been tricked and have provided your bank details, call your bank immediately
  • If you have clicked on a link and provided a password, change the password on all accounts that use the same one

You can also report potential phishing to the NCSC via their new Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS)

 

Getting the Basics Right and Preparing Your Staff for Home Working

The NCSC has some excellent resources to help businesses of all sizes with cybersecurity. As well as guides, they also have a free Cybersecurity training course that can be watched online.

Some key things you should consider are:

  • Ensure your software and anti-malware protection is up-to-date and that you install any patches as soon as they are available. Attackers will often target unpatched systems and it will ensure you are protected against the latest viruses.
  • Back up your data. Do not solely rely on online backup services. Backups are critical to protect against ransomware attacks.
  • If you need to set up new access or accounts for staff to work remotely, ensure you set strong passwords. It is highly recommended that you use two-factor authentication (2FA), particularly for important accounts or data. Always follow good passwords practices
  • Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to allow remote users to securely access your IT resources such as email and file access
  • If staff need to use different software when working remotely, you should create written guidelines
  • Ensure staff know how to look after their devices (such as keeping them safe and reporting lost/stolen items) and advise against using removable media such as USBs – USBs that contain sensitive information can be easily misplaced and become harder to track.
  • Make sure staff know how to report any problems
Should I have Cyber Insurance?

To protect your business from the numerous consequences of a data breach, you may want to consider having a robust cyber-liability insurance policy in place.

At a glance, cyber-liability cover can offer the following key benefits for your organisation:

Data Breach Cover – In the event of a cyber-attack, organisations are required by law to notify affected parties. This can add to total breach costs, particularly as they relate to security fixes and possible legal action. Your policy can provide cover for these exposures.

Business Interruption Reimbursement – if a cyber-attack disrupts your business operations, your policy may cover any loss of income during the interruption.

Cyber-extortion defence – Ransomware and similar malicious software are designed to steal and withhold key data from organisations until a costly fee is paid. Your policy can help recoup any losses related to cyber-extortion.

Forensic Support – this aspect of your policy can offer near-immediate 24/7 support from cyber-specialists following a breach.

Cover beyond a public liability policy – public liability policies don’t always protect organisations from losses related to cyber-attacks. Supplementing your existing insurance policies with cyber-liability cover can ensure ultimate protection against the risk of a costly breach.

If you are interested in finding out more, contact CCRS today to discuss bespoke cyber-liability insurance solutions

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