Cyber threats during COVID-19 are real. Even before COVID-19, cyber-crime was an ever-increasing threat to businesses of all kinds.
But the pandemic has provided unscrupulous individuals and organized gangs with an array of new opportunities to exploit the misery of others.
To give just one example, IBM’s own specialist anti-cyber-crime unit has reported a 6,000 % increase in COVID related SPAM between March and May alone.
Some New Types of Cyber-Attack
These new threats include phishing e-mails that purport to help small businesses obtain federal government assistance. And coronavirus related fake domains and malware are now openly for sale on the dark web. E-mails falsely claiming to be from the World Health Organization (WHO) or the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have also been reported.
And to make matters worse, the huge numbers of on-site employees now being encouraged or required to work from home has, of course, increased the vulnerability of many businesses.
Enabling staff to work securely from home is a new problem for most firms. And many will be unprepared for the challenges involved in having large numbers of people logging in remotely to company systems and accessing sensitive data using poorly secured domestic WiFi.
Strengthening Your Operational Protections
Nevertheless, from an operational point of view, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself from Cyber Threats during COVID-19.
Firstly, if you don’t already have in place a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that includes how you will respond to a cyber-attack, now is the time to prepare one. And remember that in the event of any claim your insurers will want to see evidence that you have taken all reasonable steps to mitigate the loss for which you are claiming.
It is also, of course, essential to ensure that your in-house security measures such as firewalls, anti-virus, and anti-malware software are right up to date. And you should consult immediately with your IT providers to ensure that this is so.
Secondly, you should wherever possible provide staff working remotely with company secured equipment such as laptops, cell phones, and iPad, etc. The security education and individual risk assessment of all such employees is another important protection. The use of secure VPNs and the requirement of multi-factor authentication, not just strong passwords, to authorize access to your networks is also highly recommended.
The Insurance Perspective
Even minor cyber-attacks can be ruinously expensive. So from an insurance point of view, the key thing is to ensure that you have all the necessary coverages in place.
Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance, to cite just one example, does not usually cover cyber claims – as even household name brands such as Sony have found to their considerable cost.
And it’s also important to understand that cyber insurance policies are much less standardized than some other types of business insurance. Bespoke policies for different market sectors and even individual firms are the rule rather than the exception.
Talk to the Experts: Cyber Threats during COVID-19
So in the time of the coronavirus, with risks having increased dramatically, it’s ever more imperative that you seek the advice of an experienced adviser to help co-ordinate your insurance strategy.
At Brashears Insurance, we specialize in the kind of individually tailored, service that is now more important than ever.
And you can find out more about Cyber Threats during COVID-19 by calling us on 805-564-7645 or sending us a message here.