“We are in the middle of a digital revolution now more than ever because of the pandemic – like how we do business especially banking has changed. Work from home has become the new norm, as well as online payment services and digital financial transactions. Even how we source our food, learn, and entertain were changed.”
So said Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky, who also noted that “with these kinds of shifts where we heavily rely on technologies and are connected online, there’s always the issue of cybersecurity. Is your data safe? Is your privacy secured? Are you protected when a cyber attack happens?”
In fact, in the company’s Q1 2020 DDoS attacks report, reported was an increase (triple) in the first three months of 2020 on cyberattacks targeting online educational resources and official websites of cities compared to the same period in 2019. For instance, recently, a social media platform was hacked and was all over the news, where 350 million of its users received the fake challenge message from hijacked official accounts of famous personalities and resulted to a $120,000 bitcoin scam. There’s also an American technology company whose data were stolen by hackers and the news suggested that they paid ransomware to receive a decryption key for their files.
WORLD AT STANDSTILL
“The Covid-19 pandemic is much more than the Y2K bug or the Thai floods combined, I must say. Not only that it’s setting off exponential cases as we speak but it has also forced most of the world to come to a standstill. Lockdowns, quarantines, closed borders were and have been the orders of the day,” Tiong said.
For Tiong, unlike the Millennial Bug that caused anxiety for an expected threat but which produced no technological malfunction in any sector, Covid came as a wave of shock, totally unexpected but has made people dependent on technology the most. And unlike the widespread 2011 flooding in Thailand which have caused massive business disruptions including a global shortage of hard disk drives in 2012, the impact of covid-19 continues to unfold across the length and breadth of the world.”
But for Tiong, “most of the world’s industries may each have a bleak outlook but the pandemic may be presenting new opportunities and new ways of doing business and improving efficiencies. The potential of technology to be at the forefront of the different markets’ recoveries is huge.”
For Tiong, there are three things that companies should focus on in any security-related issues.
- People – Proper and effective training for all employees should be done regularly. The biggest cyberattacks usually start with a simple human error.
- Ability to adapt/process- Businesses should adapt to the digital world. They should be looking at adaptive approaches in security which should be proactive rather than reactive as they process a lot of data both from their customers and inside the company.
- Technology- It is important that businesses equip themselves with the necessary tools that can help track threats that can evade regular endpoint solutions, even before they hit them.
“Putting this question into a cybersecurity context where technologies are evolving and the nature of cyber threats are expected to become more sophisticated, it is important for any organization to integrate strategic, tactical, operational and technical intelligence in a manner that will enable them to build a more secure environment to deal with any adversaries,” he said. “The reality is this: cybercriminals go where people go. Examples of malware trying to piggyback on COVID-19, hiding malicious files in documents purporting to relate to the disease are on the rise.”
Tiong believes that targets for which continuity of operations and data protection is extremely critical are healthcare organizations. Apart from keeping the medical equipment and data constantly available for medical personnel, hospitals and medical institutions are also protecting the privacy of their patients’ critical information.
For this sector, Kaspersky has made its B2B solutions available for free for six months. These core endpoint security products include Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business Advanced and Kaspersky Hybrid Cloud Security, Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud Plus (SaaS endpoint protection) and Kaspersky Security for Microsoft Office 365 (protection for MS Office 365),
For all the other industries, “we also have Threat Intelligence Services. Threat Intelligence gives organizations a 360-degree view of the current threat landscape and gives them access to intelligence to help them improve and accelerate their incident response and forensic capabilities and mitigate threats to their network. This threat intelligence is a combination of our Kaspersky Security Network’s global database, machine learning, and our own human powerhouse, our Global Research & Analysis Team (GReAT). The goal of Kaspersky’s Threat Intelligence Services is to provide the security team of an organization with as much data as possible to help prevent cyber-attacks even before these incidents could impact the company.”
IT CAN HAPPEN AGAIN
Moving forward, and knowing that something like Covid-19 may happen again, what is the best lesson that companies/businesses can learn from this experience?
“What we have seen is that this situation has forced everyone to make accelerated shifts in life and work. I can say the best lesson that companies/businesses can learn from this experience is to be honest about their capabilities and to speed up their digital transformation,” Tiong said. “Never have we experienced a sudden transitioning of the global workforce from working in office spaces to working from home. This current state of affairs does not appear to be reverting back to the pre-Covid setup soon. And so we encourage organizations to pause and reflect on their network structure, make the necessary changes as quickly as they can, and get help from the experts. At this point and with this current circumstances that we all are in the goal should be about building both the resilience of their employees and the organization as a whole.”