Cybersecurity in the post-covid era: key industries under threat

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In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the global economy is facing increased cybersecurity threats across a number of different industries. Since the health crisis began to take hold in early 2020, multiple industries have been forced to adapt to the new social and working environments by introducing changes like remote work. In the US alone, remote work increased by circa 30 percent during the pandemic. These new working circumstances came as a result of the numerous restrictions introduced by governments across the globe to tackle the pandemic, like social distancing and mask-wearing. But apart from the pandemic’s impact on the work environment, Covid-19 brought with it new security challenges as well.

Some of the industries that have been most exposed to increased cybersecurity threats amid remote work and online communication are financial services, IT, energy, and manufacturing. According to a telling report published by the FBI last year, the number of cyberattack complaints surged to 4 000 per day during the pandemic, representing an increase of roughly 400% compared to pre-Covid levels. At the same time, the growing number of complaints is responsible for an increase in security costs from USD 3.86 million to USD 4.24 million on average across industries worldwide.

Both developed and emerging markets are being increasingly targeted by cybercriminal groups and hackers. The frequency of these attacks, directed across a range of sectors, are expected to decrease once the pandemic is declared over, however, companies are encouraged to implement certain measures until then in order to deal with the influx of cyberthreats. Namely, measures like heavier investments in cybersecurity, personal data protection and employing full-time cybersecurity experts could help companies mitigate these costly risks as much as possible.

Several measures companies already started implementing to address the new cybersecurity challenges include educating their staff and developing increased cybersecurity awareness, as well as constant updates to operating systems and security software. In addition, cybersecurity experts recommend enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) with a one-time code sent to smartphones or an authentication app as an important measure for strengthening company security. Keeping in mind the increased role remote work will play and businesses’ dependence on digital technology which is set to continue after the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) role will become of greater importance for companies’ strategic planning and a safer business development.