The Offensive Defense

Working from home puts cooperates at risk of cyber attacks.

Ransomware has thundered into major newspaper titles as of late, after cybercriminals successfully hacked major organizations across varied sectors. Ransomware has long represented a major cyber threat danger to organizations and risk management frameworks, yet specialists say the issue has detonated as of late. Ransomware casualties are expected in the US paid out almost USD 350m, as per the worldwide security bunch the Foundation for Security and Innovation – a 311% expansion more than in 2019. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says ransomware gangs have breached the networks of at least 649 organizations from multiple US critical infrastructure sectors last year, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) 2021 Internet Crime Report. However, the actual number is likely higher given that the FBI only started tracking reported ransomware incidents in which the victim was a critical infrastructure sector organization in June 2021. Similarly, a recent report suggests that 70 percent of Indian firms were hit by a ransomware attack in the last 3 years

Experts attribute the surge to a number of factors, but they say one of the most critical has been the shift to remote working during the pandemic. In 2015 the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced it was hacked in 2015, one of the largest data thefts in history. Since then the US has spent USD 115bn on cybersecurity and the White House is asking Congress to commit roughly USD 10bn to civilian government cybersecurity – a jump of nearly 14%. The industry spent $41bn on cybersecurity in 2019 and is expected to have spent $53bn in 2020.

Cybercriminals have increasingly found numerous lucrative routes in ransomware assaults, in which a hacker breaks into an organisation or government’s network and seizes information or critical information infrastructures, demanding payments for their return. Employees on computers out of doors for the protection of office networks face more significant risks. Employees on computers outside the safety of office networks face more risks. Enterprise networks generally only allow trusted devices to connect, reducing the risk of outside actors or malware entering. They also often have stronger protections in place than the average consumer Wi-Fi network. Working from home could be conveniently good for you but extremely bad for enterprise security.

The COVID-19 pandemic has intensely impacted the arena in which many would discover themselves working, reading, communicating, and performing different critical wishes inside the Internet world. The pandemic has supplied many obstacles and demanding situations for absolutely everyone around the sector. However, the pandemic has indeed pressured professionals and students to work online which might also appeal to many cyber-criminals. Cyber-criminals could see the pandemic as a golden opportunity to exploit many who operate from domestic internet networks. 

One of the major reasons for such a high level of ransomware attacks and cyber breach incidents is the lack of basic cyber security awareness, cyber hygiene, and professional hands-on cyber security training and cyber incident response skills. It is painful to learn that a global ransomware survey of small and medium businesses (SMBs) released by Canada-based information management company OpenText has underscored a concerning lack of awareness among businesses with respect to ransomware attacks. According to the 1,332 security and IT professionals from small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) surveyed, 67 percent of respondents don’t think or aren’t sure they are a ransomware target even as 46 percent said they have experienced a ransomware attack.

It has been proven through multiple examples from the past that SMBs have always been an easy target for attackers digitally because of little to zero measures taken by businesses to prevent cyberattacks. In fact, a report by the cybersecurity company NordLocker in September 2022 noted that India is among the top 10 countries hit by ransomware attacks with more than half of such attacks targeted at the country’s small businesses. The report claimed that the top five sectors prone to cyber-attacks were information technology, telecom, manufacturing, consumer services, finance, and energy.

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Arunamoy Roy

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