Since the reporting of the first Covid-19 case, the world has suffered devastating effects ranging from health issues to economic sabotage. The governments have had to restrict the interaction of their citizens by introducing lockdown, to control movement. Businesses are the worst-hit area in each country. Business owners have been forced to either close or work online. Working from home has proven to be the current order of the day. As a result, people tend to share sensitive information, which gets used in carrying out cybercrimes. The need to know cyber threats and preventive measures is, therefore, essential.
Below are common cyber threats you should be aware of during this pandemic period
Phishing is a common type of cyber threat that is gaining popularity over the corona pandemic period. The user receives emails that resemble the name of an organization with the intent to obtain sensitive information from the users like credit card or login information with malicious intent. Imagine if you received an SMS alert of job vacancies with an address resembling that of the White House? Will you be tempted to follow the link? Chances are you will expose your sensitive data unwillingly.
While phishing deals with Emails, spear Phishing is an advanced type of phishing. The hacker impersonates a person they trust, and as a result, a user relays info to the hacker. This method involves first learning about the victim beforehand. So, the next time you expose every detail about you on social media, beware! Somebody might be watching.
Malware refers to malicious software like ransomware, viruses, worms, and spyware. Unlike the previously discussed threats, malware thrives more on a vulnerable system. A user is exposed to these threats when they click an unsafe link – untested for a virus- that installs malicious software to the system. The software installed blocks access to essential parts of the ransomware obtain info by relaying data from the spyware, and make the system ineffectual.
4. Distributed denial of Service (DDOS)
Here, the attacker takes thousands of devices and configures them to send multiple instructions to the target website. Due to the large number of devices requesting the same info, the system crash,thus becoming susceptible to unauthorized access to data.
5. SQL Injection
Sensitive data, like passwords, are encrypted before sending it to the database. Encryption involves adding some characters to the data to ensure that it can only get decoded by an authorized user. However, attackers can add malicious code into a server that uses Structured Query Language, thus revealing hidden information. These malicious codes can get injected into a vulnerable search box on the website. So just click here to know Best Practices to Protect System from SQL Injection Attacks.
6. Man-in-the-middle attack
Have you ever overheard something from a conversation you never intended to hear? Simply put, Man-in-the-middle attack works by blending in between two-way transactions. The attacker filters the info and steals any sensitive data. Therefore, be on the look when on an unsecured public WiFi, because someone may insert themselves in between the network, and start assessing data from your device, incognito.
7. Domains with Malicious Intent
Domains with COVID-19 related links have been on the rise since the coronavirus Pandemic. The eruption of such malicious domains is caused by a significant phenomenon in the world today. Although some of these links might be genuine, most have been created to support other cyber threats like phishing, malware, among others. Always be on the lookout.
8. Threats on the Learning Process
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the education sector had to look for other available options for learning. Most learning institutions had to settle for e-learning and video conferencing platforms. Although it’s a noble idea, it exposed the school’s network to other cyber threats like malware, Man-in-the-middle attacks, among others.
These are some of the threats you’re likely to encounter during the coronavirus pandemic period. It’s said that hacking has occurred to two groups of people globally; those that know they have been hacked, and those without the knowledge (that they are being hacked).
So which are the actions required to prevent cybercrimes?
In this next section, we are going to explore some of the preventive measures to be put in place to avoid Cyber threats.
1. Secure your Public network with relevant SSL certificate
Most of the cyber-attacks rely heavily on network connectivity. In case your business deals with the online business, it’s important to buy the best SSL certificate that addresses your security needs. Installing a RapidSSL certificate has numerous benefits that range from protecting your website against phishing and unauthorized attacks on users.
2. Exercise critical thinking
Numerous plans have been put in place to prevent cyber-attacks. However, personal analysis comes in hand to complement other countermeasures. In case you receive an email with a government-like link, ask yourself if the government has launched such plans. Is it logically possible for the government to launch such a project? Projects like spin and win can never form part of the program of any government in the world.
3. Training and Education
During the training of IT professionals, moral values and code of ethics ought to be instilled in them. It is necessary to train them to use their skills to make the world a better place and not otherwise. Safety precautions should form part of the training of basic computer literacy like to hover over the link without clicking to identify the address of the site, thus approving its authenticity.
4. Data encryption
As a business owner or employee, data security ought to hold your topmost priority. The encryption of the email uses Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), which is used to handle key distribution and validation. PKI consists of: A certificate authority (CA) used to authenticate digital certificates and registration authority (RA) to verify the CA before issuing a digital certificate.
5. System Signatures to detect and prevent Intrusion
Have you ever imagined of having a system that detects SQL injection beforehand? Well, that’s the whole idea behind the intrusion prevention system (IPS). Plus detects traffic in the application. It’s worth noting that, IPS cannot identify traffic with characteristics of a SQL injection attack from programs that use end-to-end encryption with HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure).
6. Always Prepare for the worst
Sometimes, despite the strategies laid to prevent cyber-attacks, the attacks still occur. So, what should you do in such occurrences? Firstly, identify the source of the problem and find a solution to fix it. Secondly, perform damage control by ensuring you protect the data from reaching the public then, change passwords and logins. Everything you do should aim at bringing the company back to a smooth running.
Amidst the Corona Virus Pandemic, cyber-attacks continue to thrive and affect various stakeholders. However, in the process of living with Covid-19, companies have embraced the improvement of digital and online platforms. Unfortunately, these cyber threats result in cybercrimes ranging from malware and Phishing to Distributed-Denial of Service, just to mention a few.
For this reason, the counter-attack measures discussed above ought to stay implemented. You never know when the attackers are waiting for you to provide your login details or credit card details.