The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed people’s everyday lives and limited their options. However, cybercriminals have capitalized on this unprecedented situation. Here are five sectors at an increased risk of cyberattacks during COVID-19.
1. Health Care
The health care sector was a top target for cybercriminals before the pandemic hit. Researchers found many escalated their efforts to capitalize on the urgency and challenges posed by the novel coronavirus outbreak. Attackers want to exploit existing weaknesses, knowing that doing so now would prove especially devastating to the affected organizations.
Many also targeted health care workers by orchestrating phishing emails that promised legitimate correspondence from medical or government experts. Some of these efforts caused problems for people who attempted to place orders for essential supplies, such as masks and testing kits.
Many people chose to conduct more banking online to reduce or eliminate the time spent at local branches. At the same time, cyberthreats aimed at the banking sector increased 238% increase from February to April.
Banking customers must stay alert for attacks, too. Criminals created phishing emails that insisted people must take prompt action and provide personal details to avoid losing account access. Many people are understandably so concerned about maintaining their online banking privileges that they willingly comply without thinking about the possible consequences.
Many people began working from home during the pandemic, but truckers didn’t have that option. They continued transporting goods to their destinations and playing crucial roles in the supply chain while doing so. Today’s vehicles often have autonomous features that add convenience and safety to drivers’ time on the road. Statistics show a more than 700% increase in automotive cyberattacks from 2010 through 2019, as criminals targeted the systems.
That finding does not mean trucking company representatives should assume there’s no way to fight back and reduce a risk that COVID-19 likely elevated. Cybersecurity is an ongoing concern, and enterprises must develop and implement relevant policies across their organizations. Being proactive is an effective way to manage threats while utilizing a modern, connected fleet.
E-commerce sites are arguably one of the few success stories coming out of the global pandemic. Data indicates that they received nearly 22 billion visits in June 2020 compared to just over 6 billion in the first month of the year. However, criminals orchestrated a variety of cyberattacks during COVID to create hassles. They took advantage of people’s desperation to get essentials shipped to their homes and avoid going out to shop.
One emerging trend relates to website defacing. It involves a hacker infiltrating a server and changing the content of that online destination, often in offensive ways. Even Amazon’s United Kingdom website was successfully targeted this way. Those responsible inserted racist language and images into the site. Other types of e-commerce-related cybercrime involved malicious redirects that caused people to order from scam sites instead of legitimate merchants.
Cybersecurity researchers have long warned of the severe implications of hackers breaking into the electricity grid or some other infrastructure component managed by a utility company. Such attacks could result in widespread blackouts that cripple households and businesses.
Utility companies followed the lead of many others by ramping up efforts to let people work from home. That keeps employees safer but increases the possibilities of cyberthreats. Businesses can reduce the risks by assessing which tasks suit remote working and those that on-site employees must handle. Then, they should beef up security for all platforms and processes used by online teams. Automated threat detection technology can also raise awareness of problems.
Diligent Attitudes and Actions Help Thwart Cyberattacks During COVID
The need to practice cybersecurity is not new. However, with more people shopping, socializing, working and taking care of daily needs through the internet, cybercriminals are especially eager to seize the opportunities associated with that change.
People recently learned the importance of taking precautions to stay healthy, including practicing social distancing, washing their hands and wearing masks. It’s time for individuals and businesses to behave similarly with their internet-based actions. Staying careful while online could help them avoid catastrophes.