COVID-19 and Cybersecurity: How the Pandemic Has Impacted Online Safety

March 2021

In September 2020, Cynet released an in-depth report on their findings regarding the impact COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has had on cybersecurity thus far. Some of the findings weren’t much of a surprise; for example, it wasn’t unexpected that hackers would exploit the pandemic as a means of carrying out cyber-attacks.

However, there were some interesting discoveries that both consumers and business owners with an online presence should be aware of. This includes information related to an increase in attacks among certain industries and malware attacks carried out through a method known as spear phishing. Meanwhile, the Cynet report also identified an increase in new attack methods, which is troubling.

Below, we’re taking a closer look at Cynet’s findings and what you can learn from them.

Increases in Industry-Specific Attacks

While there has been an uptick in attacks across all industries, the reality is that some sectors seem to be getting hit harder than others in the COVID-19 era. Specifically, businesses in the finance, food production, and retail industries have seen more than a 20 percent increase in cyber-attacks. As a result, business owners should be taking even more precautions to keep their websites and data safe.

Malware Distribution via Spear Phishing

The Cynet report also found that spear phishing through the use of malicious links has been used more often as an initial access vector in malware distribution. Spear phishing refers to the process of sending emails under the guise of a trusted sender and encouraging victims to share confidential or sensitive information. While this type of phishing has been an increasing threat for many years, more hackers seem to be using this method against businesses than ever before.

Increases in New Attack Methods

Perhaps most concerning out of all the report’s findings regarding COVID-19 and cybersecurity is the notable increase in novel attack methods being carried out across the board. In fact, the occurrence of new attack methods has increased by a full 75 percent. This is especially problematic because many companies’ IT teams are already struggling to protect their sites against the influx of attacks, making it even more difficult to keep up with new threats.

The Bottom Line: It’s Time to Beef Up Your Cybersecurity

Whether you’re in a vulnerable industry or are simply looking to better protect your business in the wake of these findings, there are several steps you can take to improve your cybersecurity. Given the current state of the digital world, businesses must implement some common-sense cybersecurity tips. This includes checking for updates and patches regularly and installing these upgrades as soon as they become available. Keeping your software up to date can help close security gaps as quickly as possible, thus reducing your risk of falling victim to attacks.

If you’re not doing so already, now is also the time to begin backing up your data regularly. This, in addition to encrypting your website information, can give you a much-needed advantage over hackers. Even if it does end up in the wrong hands, encryption should make the information more-or-less unusable to the attacker. Meanwhile, having a data backup available can help keep your business running.

Last but not least, you can reduce security vulnerabilities by utilizing the right hosting service. If you don’t already have a dedicated hosting plan in place for your business website, consider making the switch! Dedicated servers are the most secure and reliable hosting option available, and the added peace of mind you’ll receive is worth every penny.

Contact ReliableSite today to learn more about our dedicated server hosting solutions!