COVID-19 poses greatest-ever cyber security threat, experts warn

The COVID-19 outbreak is forcing millions of employees to work from home, presenting organisations with an unprecedented challenge: keeping as many business-critical functions running as possible whilst maintaining cyber security. According to information security experts at Veridium, this represents the greatest ever cyber security threat firms have ever faced.

James Stickland, CEO of Veridium says that, against a backdrop of rising phishing attacks, this enhanced threat is all the more worrying.

"What makes this situation so difficult are the timeframes," he explained. "Where typical changes of this scale are planned, researched, deployed and tested over months and even years, the UK now has just weeks to overcome some very real problems. These circumstances, albeit challenging and worrying, indeed present a long term opportunity for businesses to reassess their security strategies.

"Many companies are facing increasing scrutiny over their identity verification requirements, particularly video conferencing tools which have exploded in popularity. At this current time, invoking business continuity must be prioritised – ensuring clients are serviced and secure authentication for remote employees is provided.”

“Ensuring that remote workers don't fall foul of phishing attacks when resetting passwords will be crucial for employees working from home. There has been a 667% increase in funded cyber attacks on passwords, which are already the weakest link in the security trail, being responsible for over 80 per cent of data breaches.”

Securely authenticating employees working remotely is becoming critical to business continuity, according to the firm, which believes that this pandemic will lead to some businesses completely overhauling their remote working strategies moving forward.

“Software based authentication that can be delivered remotely will be key to improving cyber security for home workers. Authentication measures that require passwords or PINs put pressure on already inundated or unavailable IT helpdesks through resets. More and more organisations are realising the benefits of taking a multi factor biometric approach to security, which can efficiently safeguard sensitive employee and customer data whilst future-proofing their business,” Stickland adds.

“The way the world works will change after this – individuals and businesses will rethink their priorities. Flexible working will be more accepted, security will matter more, and relationships will matter more. In the same way it takes a cyber breach to invest in improving security, this pandemic will make a number of businesses overhaul their remote working strategies. It will be very interesting to see how the business and security world will change.”

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