Cybercrime in the COVID-19 Era

by Aaron Finch

Today, the majority of cybercrime in the COVID-19 era is carried out with a few clicks of a button. Malicious actors can access your information from anywhere in the world and steal your identity without ever meeting you in person. They can even take over your digital life when they get physical access to your device.

And unfortunately, it’s not just individuals that are at risk — businesses are susceptible, too. In 2015 alone, cybercrime cost organizations worldwide $3 trillion dollars in damage and recovery costs alone.

When cybercrime strikes, it can have a significant impact on your business, your brand, and even the larger economy. It takes the form of theft or damage to information — for example, stolen credit card numbers or online banking credentials — and non-financial losses due to a disruption in services such as services related to transportation, utilities, and healthcare.

As the COVID-19 era continues to evolve over the next decade, there’s no doubt that cybercrime will continue to evolve as well. Organizations should consider what they need to be ready for when it comes: The first step is assessing their current capabilities today and setting goals for tomorrow.

Precautions from cybercrime :

1.Awareness and Training

Any employee’s credentials are a potential entry point for cybercriminals into an organization. Because employees typically have the most access to systems, they’re the easiest targets. Your employees may even be unaware that they’re making mistakes—once those mistakes are seen by a hacker, it can be difficult to recover.

If your employees don’t understand their role in preventing cybercrime, you should deliver training on the topic and reiterate it periodically. A recent study found that having plans in place and educating employees can help reduce your organization’s risk of experiencing a data breach.

2. Proactive Steps

As you build your training program, use the COVID-19 era as a framework to teach your employees about fraud and data security. Here are other steps to take:

Train your employees in spearphishing . Educate them on how cybercriminals use social engineering tactics to manipulate employees into giving up confidential information, such as financial account credentials. It’s the most common form of cyberattack — but also the most preventable. Make sure every employee knows what spearphishing is and how to recognize it, so they can avoid falling prey to hackers’ schemes.

Introduce multi-factor authentication. Since the majority of cyberattacks leverage stolen credentials, using a two-factor form of authentication can significantly diminish a hacker’s chances.

3. Use Business Intelligence to Identify Risks

If the cybercriminals you face are savvy enough, they may know who your customers are and can use this information against you. This is especially concerning when it comes to building new products that are geared toward businesses. You can’t build a product and not consider who will be using it.

Business intelligence reports that analyze your customer base will help identify any potential hidden risks as you develop new products. You can also look for any trends in how people are engaging with your company and its products. Traditional data analysis tools will help you uncover these trends quickly, but so should a more natural approach that uses open data sets from the customers themselves.

Business intelligence can help you uncover the following types of risks:

1. Your data is at risk of being leaked online . 

Customer data can be a valuable commodity for cybercriminals, because it can be used for many different purposes — identity theft, blackmail, and more.

Tracking where your customers are going online can help you find out if they’re engaging in risky behaviors or being exposed to bad information. For example, a customer who frequently visits gambling websites may soon be susceptible to an email scam that tricks them into sharing their credit card information with a cybercriminal.

2. Your revenue is at risk of being stolen . 

Business intelligence reports will help you identify not just where people are going online but what they’re doing there — including the financial transactions they make.

Monitoring your customers’ money can help you discover which websites or apps they’re using for payments. If you notice that a certain popular website has a very low completion rate for its transactions, you may want to investigate and see if there are ways to improve the experience.

3. Your brand is at risk of being damaged . 

Once your data has been leaked and can be sold online, the damage is done — and your brand could take the brunt of it. A full 60% of consumers say they won’t do business with a company again if they learn their information was hacked into.

If you discover that your brand is at risk, there are programs you can implement to mitigate the damage. For example, a team of digital crisis response experts could help you respond in a way that matches the severity of the breach.

4. Your customers’ money is at risk of being stolen .

Hackers are using increasingly advanced tactics to steal money from people — including going after large companies or small businesses that deal with cash on hand, such as restaurants and food trucks. Having visibility into customer transactions will shed light on their habits and help you recognize threats before they become a reality.

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