Top 5 Cyber Security Attacks on The Rise During the COVID19 Pandemic

February 5, 2021

Even though companies are trying hard to secure their IT assets like laptops, computers, mobile phones, and software applications, attackers are taking advantage of the work-from-home scenario to reach their target. Cybercriminals take advantage of vulnerable, out-of-date systems and unsecured Wi-Fi networks to penetrate home user networks using different malware, phishing, malicious applications, and much more.

While the world is experiencing the havoc of the Covid19 virus, cyber criminals are looking at this as an opportunity to scam people, phish-out important data, and steal user information, resulting in a “Cyberpandemic”. Last month in December, the National Institute of Health network was hacked, and several major government agencies in the US were affected by cyber-attacks.

Just imagine, if this the state of big corporations and government agencies, then smaller company network and IT assets is an easy target for cybercriminals. However, if you take the preventive steps, assess your business network, software applications, and hardware; the attacks can be avoided. Often the victim companies are not even aware of which cyber attacks have been performed on them. Here are the top five types of attacks that small to large companies need to be aware of.

#Attack 1. Phishing Email Attacks

Emails remain the most popular and common form of attacks even in the year 2020. The simple reason is lack of awareness. Companies often implement the basic firewall and email settings that block any kind of spam attack, but for phishing attacks, staff and management need to be trained. As technology changes and becomes more complex, the cybercriminals are also evolving.

What happens: For example, criminals send waves of emails to your company staff with a link to make the payment within 3 to 4 days using a Gmail/office 365spoof login page. Once the company network or asset is used to access the malicious website, not only the user information is hacked but also the company data and network access information is compromised. Domains are spoofed, and emails are sent to other staff members to share crucial information and the number of email attacks increases.

What to do: Train your staff about such attacks and techniques used by cybercriminals and keep reminding them about these dangers. Advise staff to never use your business assets for personal use and to avoid any unsecured websites. Staff should be alert and verify the email address for any email asking for business-critical information.

#Attack 2. Malicious Software Apps/Applications

It is a myth that cyber-attacks take place only through computers and laptops. Modern criminals use mobile platforms to launch their spy apps on your phone, which can then provide them with the latest information regarding your banking, business, and much more. This is much more dangerous than it sounds. Most of the business owners and IT managers are not aware that their staff members are actually inadvertently carrying spy applications and apps on their devices.

What happens: In such attacks, a malicious software application is installed on your mobile or laptop device, which is triggered when a user visits an unsecured or alluring banner ad like ‘48 bitcoins for $100. Offer valid only for 48 hours’. Several apps have been removed from Apple and Google play platform recently because of trojan, malware, and phishing attacks rising due to these applications. Outdated applications and software that have lapsed their end-of-life are prime targets. The attacking applications have been designed and developed to discretely fetch user information, identity, banking information, personal pictures & videos, and much more.

What to do: IT business asset risk assessment is now a necessity and best practice for every company. If you are not sure if your business information has been compromised or not, if your business data is being sold on the dark web or not, then you should get an IT risk assessment of the business network, assets, and software applications at least once a year.  Many of our customers are astonished at what issues and weaknesses we discover.

#Attack 3. Ransomware

Ransomware remains the third most popular cyberattack for criminals and is a huge threat for all organizations. The only difference in these attacks is that compared to the previous years, the tricks and techniques used to infect the employees’ communication are more sophisticated. Once infected, many companies opt to pay the cybercriminals the ransomware to get their data back ad being assured that their crucial business information will not be leaked/sold on the dark web.

What happens: Cyber attackers target one system, then move to another, and do not stop until they have infected every system in your network. This can also may lead to compromising of your client and partner networks. Ransomware requires immediate preventive and specific steps to contain the problem, solve the issues, and restore data.

What to do: The very first step is to identify the system which has been infected, and an immediate response plan for the attack must be implemented. You need to determine the scope of the attack, identify the ransom variant, and launch defense mechanisms. If your business does not have in-house cybersecurity analysts and professionals, then you must hire experienced cybersecurity consultants immediately.

#Attack 4. Password-based Cyber Attacks

Recently, password-based cyberattacks are increasing, and cyber-criminals are succeeding with user identity information. A single visit to an unsecured and untrusted website or application by your employees may open the door to several accounts to be compromised across the company.

What happens: The simple reason that these attacks are so successful is that users are reusing passwords for all the portals and systems in the company. Reusing similar passwords without any security layers puts the enterprise at risk. In fact, as per the recent research, 4 out of 5 security breaches occur due to weakened/ stolen passwords.

What to do: Setup Two Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your systems, portals, and applications. You should ensure that all staff changes their passwords periodically so that the same password cannot be re-used. You should keep changing the username and passwords across all accounts. If you are not fully aware of how to secure your business assets and networks, then choose cybersecurity consultants to guide you with complete guidelines.


#Attack 5. AI-Based Attacks

Just when the world started using AI-based technology in identifying security threats, cybercriminals are using AI to launch their attacks more effectively. Attackers target the systems and applications which is used to gather intelligence information, and that is later used to launch their future attacks.

What happens: AI-based attacks are new-age weapons that are developed to capture crucial business information and, surprisingly, sold as-a-service in the black market.

What to do: The onus is on the security professionals to keep themselves updated about the latest tools, solutions, and defense plans for protecting business networks. The easiest way to do this is to hire cybersecurity consulting service providers to learn about the “new age” preventive steps required for your business.

How can we help?

Cyberwall is one of the leading and rapidly growing cybersecurity companies in Toronto, Canada. We have a highly experienced team of cybersecurity consultants and analysts to combat modern threats. We offer a wide range of services, including IT risk assessment, cybersecurity staff training, email security consulting, SOC-as-a-service, and SIEM-as-a-service. If you need more information regarding our services and solutions, book a 15-minute meeting with one of our advisors and get a FREE Dark web search for your company's compromised credentials today!