The Rise of Cyber Threats during COVID-19 and the Importance of Cybersecurity Moving Forward

By Guest Author | cybersecurity | December 11, 2020

Cyberthreats have been increasing dramatically throughout the current pandemic, causing great concern to Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) and IT Directors all across the globe. The rise in cybercriminal activity is thought to be down to the simple fact that we’re all spending much more time online, thus creating more opportunities for attacks as Covid provides common ground on which to base social engineering activities.

One positive for the IT sector during this turbulent time has been the boost in innovation for the computer software industry. Microsoft has claimed they were able to achieve two years’ worth of digital transformation in just two months during the pandemic. Slack, the famous work chat room app, has just been bought for a whopping $27.7bn by Salesforce as millions are set to stay working at home next year, even when the pandemic is over.

With more people increasing the time they spend online, cybercriminals have more opportunities to strike. Thankfully, it’s not just the software industry that has been pushed to innovate. The cybersecurity industry has also been given a mighty push to help fight off the rising number of cyber threats and protect the record numbers of people working online.

Increased Online Activity Results in More Opportunities for Cybercriminals

To work remotely, employees need several online tools. These typically include Cloud-based software and apps that allow employees to communicate and collaborate effectively.

COVID-19 has forced many companies to adopt new cloud and communication software tools. Before the pandemic, these tools were already growing in popularity and were used by millions of employees worldwide. But it’s only now we’re starting to unlock the real potential of each. The increased usage of these tools makes everyone more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Interpol recently published a report, which unveiled an alarming increase in the number of cyber threats this year. Over just four months, they found just under one million spam messages, 750k malware incidents, and 48,000 malicious URLs.

The report concluded with a warning that this trend is set to continue into the new year as people continue to work from home.

Industry Competition

As software developers continue to compete with one another to offer customers the best product possible, the importance of security for each of those products will be critical. Providers such as Microsoft and Google will need to ensure their cloud-based services are protected — boosting investment into cybersecurity. 

The cybersecurity industry itself is expected to witness phenomenal growth over the next 12 months as their expertise and skills become invaluable to the software industry. The focus will most likely be on cloud services and AI.

A wider customer base means a bigger need for more security. The focus will probably be on ensuring enhanced and sustainable information resilience, as well as safeguarding physical, digital, and intellectual property.

Multiple Devices 

Today, it’s not uncommon for one person to own three or four devices all connected to the same central account, such as a Google Account or Apple ID. With every device, there’s another opportunity for cybercriminals to exploit. 

If employees have multiple devices all connected to their company’s systems and cloud-based accounts, the chance of a cyber threat to the business increases. Increased connectivity provides cybercriminals with the opportunity to swoop in and steal the details of the individual or company. 

Beyond handheld devices, people are progressively linking other devices such as TVs, home thermostats, door locks, home alarms, smart home hubs, garage door openers, and more to the same network.

Each device is a new connection point for hackers to compromise and access private IT ecosystems and private information. As we move into the new year, the need for enhanced cybersecurity will be more critical than ever as people work from home and become more connected.

Cybersecurity providers are already trying to tackle this new wave of cyber threats to protect us all from cybercriminals.