2020 has been a disruptive year for many businesses, but for cyber criminals, it’s been a banner year. The change in working environment to remote workers and the general disruption of just about everything due to the pandemic has meant more opportunities for scams.
The FBI reported a 400% increase in cybercrime due to the pandemic. Online crime complaints,which had been on average 1,000 per day, suddenly rose to between 3,000 to4,000 per day in 2020.
Scams involve everything from emails promising fake cures to targeted phishing attacks on businesses to get employees to unleash ransomware.
Companies have faced a more challenging time combatting this cybercrime because of the disruption and the need to extend their cybersecurity protections to the homes of remote workers. One of the technologies they’ve been turning to are those that can protect each employee, no matter where they are, such as email security software.
Another indicator of the rise in cybercrime is data breaches. A study from Iomart, a cloud computing firm, found that large-scale breaches grew in 2020 in both frequency and intensity.
During the first quarter of 2020, data breaches grew 273% over the same quarter the year prior.
Reasons for the increase include:
● More Activities Are Done Online:Because the pandemic closed many businesses and kept people inside, more activities (banking, food ordering, etc.) have been done online than before.This means more opportunity for that data to be breached.
● Companies Have Been Transitioning IT:Businesses had a huge change in the way they needed to work this year to keep operations going. This meant transition, which means mistakes, vulnerabilities, and opportunities for attack.
It’s been a big year for phishing attacks, many of them using the pandemic as a theme. Confused newly remote workers were tricked with “new company COVID policy” emails and the general public received emails promising pandemic outbreak maps.
In March 2020 alone, these types of phishing scams rose 667%. Studies have also shown they’ve been effective, with users 3x more likely to click on a COVID-related phishing email than another type of phishing email.
Zoom became a “must have” application of the pandemic for many businesses. It gave them a way to stay in touch with employees and customers and keep doing business even with everyone on lockdown.
Hackers have taken notice of the popularity and as a result,there was a 2000% rise in the number of malicious email files with “zoom” in the name. Zoom accounts have also been breached by the thousands, with the credentials being sold on the Dark Web.
Global identify theft is also a cybercrime that’s been rising significantly throughout 2020 and is expected to continue being a large threat into 2021.
A survey of fraud examiners around the world weighed in on what’s been observed so far and what’s expected with identity fraud in the future. Here’s what they said about the risk of identity theft:
● May 2020: 22% saw significant increase, 35% saw slight increase
● August 2020: 29% saw significant increase, 38% saw slight increase
● Next 12 months: 43% expect significant increase, 39% expect slight increase
Properly protecting your business from the rise in cybercrime takes a multi-pronged approach, each method adding to a cumulative risk mitigation effect.
Many cybercrime attacks begin with an email in a user inbox.These are getting increasingly sophisticated, making them difficult for users to discern from trusted email.
Using an email filtering system like eMailAde,can reduce the burden on your users to spot every message by flagging suspicious mail for them.
When an incoming email has a red alert flag on it, users are much less likely to accidentally click a malicious link or open a dangerous file attachment it contains.
One of the best ways to stop account breaches is to put multi-factor authentication (MFA) in place. This stops hackers that have a user password because they typically won’t have the device that receives the MFA code required for login.
Human error is a big cause of data breaches and malware infections, so the more security activities you can automate the better.
This includes things like the use of managed IT services to automate patches and updates and tools like sensitivity labels in Microsoft 365 that can automatically apply security like encryption or “do not forward” at the document level based upon document keywords.
eMailAde automates your email security by flagging dangerous messages for your users. No guesswork needed and no accidental clicks on phishing!
You can download eMailAde Outlook for Windows right now and try it free for 30 days (no credit card required). It’s fast to install and it can start protecting your business within 5 minutes!
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