How the Coronavirus Pandemic is Affecting Cybersecurity

Last updated on November 27th, 2023 at 10:20 pm

In the rush to keep the world running in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, some important things may get overlooked.

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The coronavirus outbreak has pretty much shut down most of the world. Businesses and sectors of all kinds had to adapt to the new situation somehow, some doing a far better job than others.

For example, remote work was but one solution that proved super effective for many companies around the globe. Seeing how two-thirds of companies already found that their workers were more efficient while working from home, telecommuting was a natural fit for the current situation.

Yet, while everyone is lauding remote working, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic, a very serious issue stays in the backdrop unaddressed: cybersecurity

The sudden change in how society works and the rushed patchwork of solutions it came up with to stay afloat has left a huge opening for cyber threats. 

Let’s examine some of them.

Increased Exposure From Working Remotely

The most obvious danger: a substantial number of people now have to work from home — digitally. In many cases, these employees fail to adhere to proper security measures; more often than not, they work from their personal computers that aren’t set up to protect company data.

Additionally, a considerable amount of people don’t practice proper cyber hygiene, which endangers both them and their employers. And given that they suddenly need to adapt to a new lifestyle, tons of employers are too distracted to be perfectly diligent online. Add to the mathematical certainty that more time online leads to more exposure to the mix, and the problem only compounds.

It’s actually the perfect opportunity for hackers to strike. Thousands upon thousands of people now have to work from home, often on devices that aren’t up to standard in terms of security. Even worse, they may lack any real education on staying safe online, making them especially susceptible to attacks like phishing.

Young hackers using computers
Groups of hackers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 epidemic for their own financial gain.

More Attacks on Government Networks

Another fairly sinister consequence of the current upheaval is a spike in government-related attacks. Bad actors seem to be thriving in the rushed nature in which global institutions are dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, catching their designated target completely off guard as a result.

A relevant example would be the Hammersmith Medicines Research attack that took place in March. The hacker tried to pull off a ransomware attack but luckily failed since the London-based medical institution managed to restore their data from backups.

The hectic situation that arose from the pandemic, and the way governments are responding to the crisis, provided ripe grounds for cyberattack opportunities. For one, many response structures were raised in a rush. Meaning, they aren’t as sound in terms of security. Secondly, many institutions and companies wound up losing funds due to a decrease in business. In many cases, this has led to penny-pinching across the board, compromising the strength of networks in the process.

A Surge of Scam Coronavirus Websites 

Nowadays, people mostly rely on the Internet to inform themselves about the coronavirus response in their countries and beyond. Be it government responses or talks of a vaccine being developed, the Internet is currently one of the scant few windows into the world. And as you could expect, cybercriminals are only too happy to exploit that weakness. Research indicates that corona-related websites are 50% more likely to be little more than bait set up by cyber attackers.

Whether they peddle promises for a new vaccine or other means of curing the virus, from tea to essential oils, these websites only serve to squeeze money or personal information from unwitting readers. Unfortunately, people’s fears and spreading disinformation only seem to feed into the effectiveness of these phony websites.

Writer | + posts

A Toronto-born puppy-lover and passionate blogger, Bera cites traveling the world as her hobby and proving people wrong as her hobby. She loves reading up on the newest trends and has a passion for anything creative and trending.

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