Coronavirus-themed Cyberattacks on Businesses Rise, Experts Recommend Beefing Up Network Security

chamberbusiness | May 06, 2020

Coronavirus-themed Cyberattacks on Businesses Rise, Experts Recommend Beefing Up Network Security
  • In recent weeks reveal the need for businesses to double down on security to ensure their networks are protected, a leading cyber security expert said. .

  • Many of the attacks were ransomware, holding companies’ network systems hostage until a payout was made. .

  • Under COVID-19, cyber criminals are having a field day, honing in on companies in countries like the United States that are in the throes of fighting the virus..


An uptick of coronavirus-themed cyber attacks on hospitals, pharmaceutical laboratories and even the trucking industry in recent weeks reveal the need for businesses to double down on security to ensure their networks are protected, a leading cyber security expert said. Many of the attacks were ransomware, holding companies’ network systems hostage until a payout was made. Some companies, particularly small and mid-sized businesses, might not survive such an attack, said John Zanni, CEO of Scottsdale-based Acronis SCS, a leader in edge data security and cyber protection in the U.S. public sector.


Zanni strongly advises organizations to beef up network safety. The cost is minimal and today’s technology is highly effective. A large organization that has its IT system knocked out can pay in the “hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars” to fly in a forensics firm to fix the damage, Zanni said. For smaller private sector entities, the cost can put them out of commission.



Learn more: SINGLE LAYERS OF SECURITY AREN’T ENOUGH TO PROTECT YOUR ORGANIZATION’S DATA .
 

“The pandemic has increased impacts on businesses significantly. Unfortunately, many are not equipped to deal with them” .

~ Zanni says


A large organization that has its IT system knocked out can pay in the “hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars” to fly in a forensics firm to fix the damage, Zanni said. For smaller private sector entities, the cost can put them out of commission.“If someone breaks into your business, you call 911,” he said. “If you call 911 and say, ‘I’m suffering a ransomware attack,’ they don’t know what to do. It’s a big problem.” COVID-19 has brought the issue into the limelight as more employees work from home, doctors conduct telemedicine appointments, and online purchases soar.

“So now we’re all working at home and the bad guys have realized there are a lot of holes in being connected to a corporate network or other business from home systems.”


Under COVID-19, cyber criminals are having a field day, honing in on companies in countries like the United States that are in the throes of fighting the virus. To illustrate the threat, only 190 domain names included the word ‘corona’ last year, Zanni said. In March, there were more than 30,000. “Some are legitimate but most of them are not,” he said. “We’ve also seen a 127 percent increase in exposed desktop protocol endpoints. Anyone with connectivity is at risk. Phishing scams claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization are a common ruse right now.


While all businesses are at risk, the majority of cyber attackers target government agencies in search of sensitive data, Zanni said. That impacts businesses as well. When Baltimore had to shut down operations after a cyber attack last year, companies were unable to carry out everyday transactions like getting permits approved and bills paid. The city lost millions of dollars in potential and delayed revenue. Atlanta and New Orleans also were hit by cyber attacks in the past two years, also costing millions of dollars in recovery costs.


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Learn more: HOW ORGANIZATIONS CAN PREPARE FOR CYBERSECURITY .
 

Spotlight

At the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, CSO’s Steve Ragan talks with Stephanie Carruthers, owner of Snow Offensive Security, about why business email compromise (aka CEO fraud) works so well against companies. She also discusses several tricks that phishers will use to gain trust among corporate employees when preparing for an attack.

Spotlight

At the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, CSO’s Steve Ragan talks with Stephanie Carruthers, owner of Snow Offensive Security, about why business email compromise (aka CEO fraud) works so well against companies. She also discusses several tricks that phishers will use to gain trust among corporate employees when preparing for an attack.

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