Pandemic Triggers Cyber Crimes

Moving the office to the homes of workers has been one of the ways to fight the pandemic, but it has weakened the defenses of organizations against cybercriminals, who have not wasted time during the pandemic.

One of the most common crimes, known as CEO fraud, previously could be solved with a query in the office next door to find out if the email received was true or not. Now, with remote work, it is emerging again.

The Galician pharmaceutical company Zendal has just been scammed with this identity theft of 9 million euros. The systems themselves are no longer housed in shielded environments, to depend on a local connection, shared with the rest of the family.

Human errors are another risk factor, according to experts, due to “poor training and low awareness” of workers. All it takes is an inopportune click , an unintended distraction, to unleash an attack and put the entire organization in check, in a few seconds, the pirates are lurking and any crack can be an open door to disaster.

Confinement served to sharpen his wits and sophisticate his criminal strategies. What is a hacker doing 24 hours locked in his house? Design new viruses, talk to others to refine threats… “The Secure & IT Advanced Security Operations Center, integrated into LKS Next , has detected more than 700,000 alerts as of October.

The general director of this group, Francisco Valencia, warns of an “alarming increase in threats, some of them very dangerous”. Faced with this escalation in crime, they have been forced to reinforce the center’s staff, with a team of 40 experts who have facilities in Mondragón and Madrid.

Experts have raised the alarm at an unbridled increase in cyberattacks, and their consequences, from which large corporations are not spared. A couple of weeks ago, in the middle of the race for the COVID-19 vaccine, the European Medicines Agency had no choice but to admit that its system had been attacked.

“We are facing a very worrying situation. The number of cyber attacks increased by 25% last year and COVID-19 has caused exponential growth “, warns Valencia.

The pandemic is a “new loot to explore”. The number one criminal type is ransomware, and in recent times, “it has evolved in a worrying way,” says Valencia.

The virus looks for an open crack in a computer and quickly infects all those who are connected, encrypting all the available information that more and more “because now they also reach the backup copies” and asks for a ransom.

In that blackmail they have stopped asking for only an economic outlay, each time it is more They frequently threaten to publish such sensitive information, putting the company in a compromised position.

Therefore, the problem is not only the attack itself, and the loss of information from the company itself that runs the risk of being paralyzed for a few hours or perhaps days, the loss of prestige or the distrust that it generates can be devastating.

It also leaves clients, users or suppliers naked. Valencia points out that it is a compelling reason for “companies to start thinking of cyber security as an investment and not as an expense”.

Experts do not stop insisting that it is necessary to establish a business strategy, and not apply emergency solutions after the hack , as is usual. Zero risk does not exist but countering the attack quickly can be a turning point.

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