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Cyber Security during coronavirus


Cyber Security during coronavirus

Cyber security breaches during the coronavirus outbreak desperately highlight areas for investment.

Cyber security is the term for practices designed to protect digital systems from attack, damage or unauthorised access.

Cyber security during coronavirus has been severely tested. Since the lockdown due to coronavirus, employees have been forced to work from home and as a result, enormous amounts of information are passed across the internet often from their own computers. This has meant that there is little or no cyber security practices in place. As a result individuals and companies are even more vulnerable to data loss than before the global virus ensued.

Although the majority of criminal cyber activity during coronavirus has reportedly been phishing scandals (impersonating trusted sources to trick the receiver into giving personal information), and fraudulent websites often selling bulk-buy medical equipment that does not exist, private businesses and organisations have been targeted by hackers too.

A masked person sitting in a dark room in front of a computer screen.

Google recently reported that it saw 18 million daily malware or phishing emails related to Covid-19 scams in the last week alone. Astonishingly, the company says this figure is on top of more than 240 million daily spam messages it sees related to the coronavirus. Check Point, a cyber security company, has found that in March alone, 2081 domains relating to coronavirus have been registered - 38 were malicious and 583 were suspicious.

Cyber security during coronavirus has come to the forefront of business consciousness as the global pandemic has led to an upsurge in nefarious online activity – hackers have targeted the World Health Organisation, a COVID-19 Vaccine centre and health-care workers with dangerous ransomware campaign.

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and a few minutes of cyber-incident to ruin it.

Stéphane Nappo

However, even before the virus, companies have found it challenging to implement cyber security practices and often risked undervaluing its importance. According to a global data risk report by Varonis data security company which analysed 785 organisations in 30+ industries, 53% of companies found over 1,000 sensitive files open to every employee and 61% of companies have 500 users with passwords that will never expire. This leaves cyber criminals the opportunity to steal valuable data and continue to have indefinite access to web accounts.

The coronavirus has highlighted the under-appreciation of cyber security for not only individuals but small and medium enterprises too. As Stéphane Nappo, the global chief information security officer for OVHCloud, says ‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and a few minutes of cyber-incident to ruin it.’ If there is anything positive to come out of the cyber scandals during coronavirus, it hoped it will teach businesses to invest time and resources in cyber security as soon as possible.

Interested in knowing more about cyber security? You’re in luck:

This Thursday (30 March) there is a FREE online taster session on cyber security hosted by the Institute of Coding at Newcastle University with cyber security experts from across the region. Reserve your place here.

Want a more in depth look at cyber security?

Institute of Coding at Newcastle University offers Degree Apprenticeships specialising in Cyber Security and Data Analytics, take look at the courses on offer.

In response to ongoing COVID-19 situation, the Institute of Coding at Newcastle University has created a new series of new FREE online events to help improve digital skills running weekly 2pm-3pm on Thursdays. More online sessions will be confirmed shortly. For more information, and to reserve your place see http://bit.ly/IOCevents.

The Institute of Coding is a nationally funded partnership which was created to improve digital skills across England and Wales. As one of 33 partner institutions, Newcastle University has funding to create business-relevant apprenticeship qualifications, and training programmes, that have a strong local impact on the region and help bring vital, new skills into the local business community. Find out more about our apprenticeships and CPD courses