The Covid19 pandemic has created challenges and threats for different industrial sectors. For the IT industry, it is the steep rise in cyber threats and attacks that it is currently grappling with. Cyber attacks are growing in number due to the loopholes created by the work-from-home system. That said, many other situations are also giving rise to new cyber issues for companies and employees. This paradigm shift is putting more stress on cyber security experts across the nation.
Due to the pandemic most of the IT employees are working from home and this is the perfect time for cyber attackers to hunt on vulnerable and remote networks and personal devices. In fact we see that the situation is increasing over the last couple of months and it is high time for companies to protect their data and other important business projects through strong cyber security cells and teams. The challenge is complex and multifaceted since most of the cyber attackers are fast in their action and companies are unable to track them, their activities or whereabouts, which are sowing seeds for future attacks as well.
According to experts, today almost 30% of companies, be it manufacturing or insurance, spend on data security, which has a high chance of going up to 50% within the next few years. Data breach and data loss is a situation which can be a major setback for companies, hence it is important for them to introduce appropriate measures to deal with cyber crime issues.
Anubhav Malviya, Associate Consultant – Cyber Security, of a reputed IT firm in Delhi, talks about how the prolonged work from home culture created due to the pandemic is simultaneously increasing the chances of cyber attacks and threats.
“The chances of cyber attacks increased as most of the organizations have given control to their employees to use movable assets like laptops. Some organizations have also allowed office desktops and laptops at home for ease of work. So in an open internet connection, organizations may have lesser control as systems are beyond controlled office boundaries and are vulnerable to various unknown threats. Cyber Attacks like Ransomware/ Data theft etc can severely hit businesses and can cause data loss and privacy breach. This is why we are seeing a steep rise in cyber attacks these days,” shared Malviya.
When asked about the solution, he says “It is mandatory to have more security solutions evolved on these assets – e.g. more control on mails using Mail Security Solutions, restrictions on all the 3 ways of data theft (data in rest, data in motion and data on endpoints) using Data Loss Prevention Technologies, protection from most recent zero day attacks using EDR solutions and cloud based AV solutions, for e.g. Mail Security Solution – Ironport, Data Leakage Prevention – Forcepoint, EDR – FireEye Endpoint Security, Cloud AV – Carbon Black and Cloud AV = Next Gen AV.”
Also, I think that is not enough, even though with good policies & plans until the end users are made aware about the best practices of cyber security. So everyone is required to learn the modules to focus on 3 basic pillars of security i.e. CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity & Availability).
Also there is only 1 way to make a machine 100% secure, ie to shutdown & put it under locker in a secured cupboard. However there are guidelines to be followed by which the impact of any security breach can be minimized or controlled in a secured manner.
Sec_rity is incomplete without U .So here “U” refers to you, me & anyone who is a part of the organization , be it a vendor, contractor, sub contractors or anyone associated with the organisation, through which organizational data flows in either of the 3 ways told.
In fact rising cyber threats issues are being faced by companies around the world and are not just a problem faced by India alone. Romit Chakraborty, a 25 year software engineer trained in cyber security at a multinational cyber security firm, Noida, has been working in the field for a long time and has a deep understanding of it.
Speaking on the issue the young gun affirmed, “Working from home has increased our chances of cyber threats because while we are working in our offices, the office networks are protected through secured networks, but while working remotely, we have to connect our laptops through VPN, which increases the chances of unknown threats. It is not just happening with IT companies but many industries are facing it. Many hospitals are compromising with their revenue just to deal with the issues of cyber threats. Due to digitization, everything is online and this increases risk of cyber threats and soon companies will have to deploy more cyber security experts. The only solution to this is to update and revise antivirus policies and website policies to ensure that there are no loopholes, because viruses can easily enter through networks, websites or even remote devices. Also personal WiFi should be used instead of public networks to avoid virus attacks.”
Cyber security attacks have increased manifold, but taking the right measures and having the right policies in place can ensure safety of the industries in the age of digitization.