Why did India see a Spike in Cyber Attacks during the Pandemic

Cyber Attacks during the Pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic has been a health and economic hazard. But that’s not all. It has alsoturned out to be a cybersecurity crisis. Businesses now have new challenges in the areas of continuity and remote collaboration.

To ensure improved business continuity, employees are increasingly using remote collaboration. This leads to increased use of various internet tools. Businesses and people alike are dependent on technology, now more than ever. This has made them more vulnerable to getting attacked by cybercriminals. According to reports, India has witnessed more than 350,000 attacks in the second quarter, which is triple the number of attacks observed in the first quarter. There have been a total of 700,000 incidents until August 2020.

Crisis in Numbers

Reports suggest that 31% of companies face at least one cybersecurity incident a day all over the globe. However, India reported twice the number. Most attacks included phishing, DDoS, malware, exploiting weak services, and video conferencing. Phishing turned out to be the most worrisome as it attained a peak during the pandemic. Almost 53% of the attacks reported were phishing attacks, and the rest 44.9% DDoS attacks, 39.5% video conferencing attacks, and 22.2% malware attacks.

Phishing emails and websites claiming to have information about COVID-19 turned out as major threats for companies. Most attacks took place after getting access to remote systems due to vulnerable services.

Why is India Vulnerable?

Various factors come into play, making India more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Increase in use of the Internet: India ranks 3rd  in the world in terms of the number of internet users after China and the USA. This exponential rise in the use of the internet and mobile phones has also led to a rise in attacks.

Detectable weak points: The shift to remote work has led to the exposure of major weak points such as insufficient monitoring, exposed servers like VPN, DNS, and weak authentication. Many employees do not pay heed to personal security hygiene and access personal emails from official systems. This leads to an increased threat of attacks.

Internal security threats: Rather than ensuring a water-tight remote infrastructure, stress is being laid on business continuity. The flow of sensitive data between departments without monitoring or logging makes it tough to find loopholes if an attack occurs.

External threats: A significant amount of companies in the country are not fully prepared to deal with the increasing number of external threats. Just a few companies have measures to monitor and stop cyberattacks when they do take place.

Cloud Technology: Companies have started using cloud technology to ensure easy access to data. However, many of these companies do not have the resources to protect SaaS or APIs. This could also lead to giving more access to attackers.

Tips To Stay Safe

Here are some tips that can help us stay safe from cybersecurity incidents:

  • Employees should be trained in principles of security.
  • A robust framework of policies for remote work should be created.
  • Data backup should be taken and stored separately.