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Hackers are using Covid-19 to their advantage. How can we combat them?

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Digital technology has become the ultimate lifeline for organisations and individuals, during the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is likely that the way we do business and carry out interpersonal internet communication will never be the same again. This present global crisis is the first in which we can truly see how valuable the internet and communication channels like social media are in preserving the very fabric of everyday life. But with the additional reliance on technology, comes the new challenge of protecting cyber vulnerabilities because it has become clear, in recent weeks, that criminal greed does not respect global crises, it seeks to thrive on them.

Covid-19 disruptions

With the continued risk that Covid-19 presents confining us to our homes, the internet can help so much in keeping us connected and able to order food and essential supplies.

Prior to this crisis, few of us were adept at engaging in daily video and audio conferencing. Certain age groups would also not have been used to ordering essentials online but now these tools and applications are critical. With that in mind, we must all work together to bring the less knowledgeable up to speed and provide the access they need, not just for business needs but for psychological ones – digital contact is, in other words, simply essential!

Cyber security best practice

The principles of good cyber security remain and should be followed. As the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has communicated, security measures cannot be waived in the Covid-19 emergency since they protect us against criminals who attempt exploit it. The NCSC has republished helpful guidance for UK companies on home and remote working, with staff using laptops, mobiles and tablets.

Setting up new accounts and accesses, controlling access to corporate systems, helping staff to look after devices and reducing the risk from removable media (such as USB sticks) are just some of the areas where sensible guidance is available. Providing a top tips crib sheet could help staff spot phishing scams.

It is likely that we will never return to old habits when the pandemic subsides and will instead, need to embrace the new normal – all the more reason to ensure that the foundations of good cyber security are communicated and understood now for these new ways of working.

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