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The threat of cyber attacks has not gone away…

The threat of cyber attacks has not gone away…

Living through a global disease pandemic has meant that here has only been one thing in the news over the past four months. The immediate and ongoing risks and challenges of continuing to live, work and trade through a UK lockdown and the fresh headaches of gradually reopening have understandably dominated the thoughts of most business owners.

Rise in cyber crime over lockdown period

Over the course of the past few months there have been many heart-warming stories of communities pulling together, businesses showing imagination and resilience in the face of unprecedented difficulties and the everyday heroism of ordinary people. In many ways, times like these have the capacity to bring out the best in us. Unfortunately, times like this are also seen as an opportunity for some to exploit and it is therefore, not entirely surprising to hear about a rise in cyber crime since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Whether in the form of ransomware from fake contact tracing apps, concerns over data security from apps like Zoom, hackers targeting universities in an attempt to steal research or malicious emails – there is no shortage of potential new cyber threats out there. High profile cyber attacks which have made the news in the UK recently include two aimed at construction companies involved in building emergency hospitals in Birmingham and Yorkshire.

Home working brings security implications for companies

One of the major factors which has created an increased risk of cyber attacks has been the rapid and unexpected change in the amount of people having to work remotely. This change to remote working for many has made organisations more vulnerable to cyber attacks through home networks which do not offer the same level of security or monitoring as the professional office environment.

Some recent research carried out by IBM shows there are a range of issues which have contributed to the problems around cyber security. With more staff working remotely, Tech and IT staff have experienced heavier workloads than usual, exacerbated by the challenges of trying to fix problems remotely. Of those surveyed – more than half said that they had not been provided with new guidelines on managing regulated data and 61% said that their employers had not provided tools to properly secure personal computers being used for work purposes.

Separate research carried out by Cyber Security company Tessian revealed that 52% of employees felt they could get away with riskier behaviour – like sharing confidential files by email – when working from home as they were not being watched by IT. Over half also said that they have cut corners and had to find ways to work-around usual security policies in order to be able to fulfil certain tasks whilst working at home. Many home workers also felt under pressure to get work done quickly and that certain security policies made that more difficult. Distraction was also cited as a reason for 47% of those surveyed who admitted to not following safe data practices when working from home.

Review policies and practices to stay protected

In adapting to the new normal, whatever that means for your business, it is important to remember that the old problems and risks around cyber security have not lessened or gone away; Quite the opposite in fact, Coronavirus has presented new opportunities for hackers to exploit.

Making sure your businesses insurance includes an element of cyber cover is more important than ever (and it was pretty important before!). Existing cyber cover should also be reviewed to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of your business in the light of changed working practices and any increased risk.

If you need more information on Cyber Insurance have a look at our blog, Cyber Insurance – What you need to know or get in touch with us to discuss your insurance needs.

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