Cyber Security and the New Normal

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Recent events have seen many companies move from onsite offices to remote workers. With the virus spreading rapidly, some businesses are considering working remotely as a long-term solution and possibly the new norm. Remote work was popular before it became a necessity. However, many people in industries such as finance, education, and government have never had to do this type of work before. These industries were able to move quickly to a remote work model rather than slowly. They now have to find a new way to get their jobs done while also helping their children with their homeschooling. It could be a catalyst for a new push to increase decentralization of the workforce if more companies realize that their employees can work remotely. Any company that has experienced remote work that was effective during the pandemic should consider expanding it to reduce office costs and expand their workforce beyond their local area.
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This is why many organizations have transformed their security framework to support remote work. To minimize risk exposure, organizations have been seeking security in their policies and procedures.
Cybercrime is a daily reality. Cybercriminals have launched a slew of ransomware, phishing and social engineering campaigns to take advantage of the confusion and distraction. Some cyber attacks are work-related, such as a fake email from IT asking users to reset their password. Others make emotional appeals to get support for a “decent cause” (or use government stimulus or financial incentives).
A global survey by Check Point Software & Dimensional Research found that 71% of IT professionals and security professionals have reported an increase in security threats following the pandemic. Over half (55%) identified phishing as the most serious threat. Next came malicious websites claiming to provide information or advice on COVID-19 (32%), and an increase in malware and ransomware (28%, 19% respectively).
Brent Arnold, a partner and cyber security specialist at Gowling WLG says that thousands of domains have emerged with COVID-19-related names and themes, some even appearing as government websites, and are being used in attacks.
Because of the nature of my job, I am often in contact with IT managers and C-levels from different organizations. It is clear that keeping up with known and emerging threats in this new environment has added complexity to an already complex job. Organizations around the world are searching for ways to manage these challenges while ensuring that employees are productive and safe. Remote employees can now make some cyber security decisions in this new environment.
To help remote employees make the right decision, we need an action plan. These are some items you should consider when creating an action plan.
1.Train employees in social engineering recognition
2.Protect against online fraud
3. Protect yourself against phishing
4. Don’t fall for false antivirus offers
5.Protect against malware
6. Develop a multilayered approach to protect against malicious software
Many criminals use social engineering to trick innocent people online and offline. Social engineering works because cybercriminals do their best to make their work sound authentic and legitimate. This makes it easier for them to deceive their victims. It is possible to make a convincing scheme to trick your employees using information found on social networks and posted on websites. You can partner with your employees to help avoid personal and organizational losses by teaching them the risks of sharing personal or business information online and training them how to recognize red flags when using online services.
Online fraud can take many forms and can impact everyone, even small businesses and their employees. To prevent others from impersonating you, it is important to use consistent and predictable online messaging with customers. Never ask for account information or personal information via email, social media or other online channels. Inform your customers that you won’t request this information through these channels. If they have any questions, please let them know.
Online criminals use phishing to trick people into believing they are dealing with a trusted entity. This threat can affect small businesses in two ways. Phishers may attempt to impersonate them to take advantage clients who aren’t paying attention, or phishers could try to steal employees’ online credentials.
Training and awareness training are your best defense against users being tricked into giving their passwords and usernames to cyber criminals. Businesses should also ensure that they never ask clients to send sensitive information via email. Your communications should clearly state that you will not ask for personal information via emails. This will make it easier for clients to recognize that the request is fraudulent.
A multilayered approach to your defenses is essential for effective protection against viruses, Trojans, and other malicious software. While antivirus software is essential, it should not be the only line of defense for a company. You should instead use a combination of several techniques to protect your company.

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