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Survey Points to Heightened Cyber Crime in Covid-19 Era

Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point Software suggests that the rapid changes to enterprise working practices adopted in the post-Covid19 phase of functioning are being exploited by cybercriminals who have stepped up their attacks, thus generating a raft of new challenges for security professionals.

In a survey report, the company today said 71% of security professionals reported an increase in security threats or attacks since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak. The leading threat cited was phishing attempts (cited by 55% or respondents), followed by malicious websites claiming to offer information or advice about the pandemic (32%), followed by increases in malware (28%) and ransomware (19%).

As many as 95% of respondents said they are facing added IT security challenges due to the spread of the Coronavirus. The three leading challenges were provision of secure remote access for employees (cited by 56%), the need for remote access scalable solutions (55%) and employees working from home were using shadow IT solutions – untested software, tools and services (47%).

The report said  61% of respondents were concerned about the security risks of having to make rapid changes to enable remote working, and 55% felt that remote access security needed improving. 49% are concerned about the need to scale-up endpoint security.

“Cybercriminals will always seek to capitalise on the latest trends to try and boost the success rates of attacks, and the Coronavirus pandemic has created a perfect storm of a global news event together with dramatic changes in working practices and the technologies used by organisations. This has meant a significant increase in the attack surface of many organisations, which is compromising their security postures,” said Rafi Kretchmer, Head of Product Marketing at Check Point.

“To ensure security and business continuity in this rapidly evolving situation, organisations need to protect themselves with a holistic, end-to-end security architecture. This means ensuring accessible and reliable connections between corporate networks and remote devices 24/7, promoting collaboration and productivity between teams, networks and offices, and deploying robust protection against advanced threats and cybercrime techniques at all points on the enterprise network fabric.”

The survey results reinforce Check Point’s recent findings that Coronavirus-related domains are 50% more likely to be malicious than other domains registered since January 2020, and indeed the average number of new domains registered in the three weeks from the end of February was almost 10 times more than the average number found in previous weeks.

Similarly, Check Point’s researchers have uncovered several ‘Coronavirus specials’ advertised by hackers on the dark web, with ‘Covid-19’ or ‘coronavirus’ being used as discount codes for sales of out-of-the-box malware.

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