COVID-19: How home working is increasing cyber vulnerability

The overnight move to a virtual workplace has resulted in a cyber crime surge, with unprepared businesses at increased risk of being exploited, Intqual-pro has warned.

Following advice and restrictions to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, businesses worldwide have closed their doors and sent staff to work from home for an unknown duration. With many unprepared and unaware of the cyber security risks involved with remote working, online fraudsters have begun to capitalise on vulnerability.

Figures from the National Economic Crime Centre in early April reveal that more that 500 Coronavirus-related scams and over 2,000 phishing emails had been reported to investigators in the UK. Losses among those targeted totalled £1.6 million, with this figure expected to rise.

Consumers are being continuously warned by regulators of schemes including bank payment frauds and data phishing attempts, but businesses too must remain vigilant.

A representative at Intqual-pro said: “The cyber threat of a home/remote working environment shouldn’t be unexpected by businesses, but the current pandemic has created an increased exploitative opportunity for cyber criminals. It is crucial that businesses encourage increased awareness and personal responsibility for cyber security amongst all employees.”

One key threat comes from a lack of face-to-face communication, making it difficult to verify identities. This vulnerability allows fraudsters to target businesses through impersonation. In recent incidents, Coronavirus-related spear phishing through impersonation has included senior executives requesting fund transfers, suppliers changing bank details to divert payments and landlords agreeing to a rent deferral in return for a down payment.

Amid the pandemic and global cyber crime surge, Intqual-pro have launched the latest phase of the Cyber Stars Initiative, Cyber Stars 365, to help business gain true insight into employee cyber security awareness.

Intqual-pro’s representative added: “We believe the launch of Cyber Stars 365 has came at an important time. Many businesses will be looking to educate their staff on cyber security as a result of increased risk, but it is vital to gain insight into cyber awareness understanding for training to effective. Cyber Stars 365 has been developed to provide a cost effective, efficient and sustainable solution to ongoing cyber awareness training and metrics.”

The Cyber Stars 365 platform allows an organisation to provide a snapshot of understanding and risk at any given time, identifying those with legitimate training needs, without providing additional unnecessary training to those that already can demonstrate an effective level of competence.

To arrange a Cyber Stars 365 trial or to find out more information, contact / 01234 381158

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