The COVID-19 outbreak poses the greatest cyber security threat to businesses seen in recent times, according to the CEO of an identity authentication software company.
James Stickland, chief executive of Veridium, said that cyber security measures that normally take months or years to plan are now having to be implemented in weeks due to coronavirus.
Millions of employees are now working from home, and companies are faced with the challenge of keeping as many business-critical functions running as possible while maintaining adequate security.
At the same time, phishing attacks have risen by an unprecedented 667% in the UK over the last month, and government statistics show that 75% of large firms were hacked in 2019.
Stickland said that coronavirus has “shone a light” on technology, but warned that some companies are placing their business at risk by taking shortcuts on security measures.
“What makes this situation so difficult are the time frames," he continued. "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.”
This comes after Beazley Breach Response Services warned earlier this month that the two most common ransomware attacks are phishing emails and breaching remote desktop protocol (RDP).
RDP enables employees to access their work computer desktops or company’s primary server from home, but the convenience comes with added risks if the technology is not secure.
Stickland said that ensuring remote workers don't fall foul of phishing attacks when resetting passwords will be crucial, and that authentication software delivered remotely will also be key.
“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.”