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BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY

The pandemic has made investments in cybersecurity even more essential

Man holds laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture
Reuters/Kacper Pempel/Illustration
Looking into the future.
By Wilfred Sigler

Director—Sales and Marketing, CRIF India

Published

Cyber risks have accelerated by as much as 500% since the first lockdown was imposed in India in March 2020.

The surge in communications and the wholesale shift to operate businesses online have increased the risk of cyberattacks by an order of magnitude. Reports suggest that cyber frauds and ransomware constitute 36% of the mass risks and are perceived as long-term threats to the success of the organisations.

Lack of a safe infrastructure can lead to loss of sensitive information, market share competitive advantage, and ultimately impact the company’s reputation.

Increasing cyber frauds, growing concerns

Fraudsters are quick in finding newer ways to break into official firewalls and conduct unethical data thefts. Cybercriminals are using the heightened digital footprint and traffic to find vulnerabilities, or to siphon off money.

They are launching Covid-19-themed attacks in the form of phishing emails with malicious attachments that drop malware to disrupt systems or steal data and credentials.

Attackers are creating temporary websites or taking over vulnerable ones to host malicious code. They lure people to these sites and then drop malicious code on their digital devices.

Clickbait websites pretending to be official government webpages have also resulted in major cyber frauds and have affected companies severely. The awareness around the different forms of cybercrimes is at its nascent stage in India and therefore, it is of prime importance to address the different scenarios that could be unfavourable.

A robust cybersecurity response

In this new environment, investment in cybersecurity is more important than ever before.

A well-secured IT infrastructure along with a distinct cybersecurity policy can aid long-term growth of companies by protecting the data systems. It would be imperative for every business to put in place, internal practices to prevent cyberattacks and at the same time have a good knowledge of potential risks related to current or potential issues.

For starters, companies need to quickly identify, prioritise, and highlight cyber risks that require immediate action.

They can do so with help of Cyber Risk Assessment reports. These reports use the latest cyber data/trends to instantly report vulnerabilities and identifies threats based on company’s current cyber risk. This lets companies identify and segregate the risky exposures which need immediate attention and helps companies save themselves from serious damage. This will also be more cost and time-efficient as compared to building these reports in-house from scratch.

Challenging times for companies venturing online

The recent outbreak has magnified the need for businesses to foray onto the online platforms. Anticipating a flurry of cyber and telecom attacks is getting very difficult for companies that have extended their business online recently.

During the time of registration of the business online, companies might be prone to web jacking.

Various SMBs have reportedly been facing a number of cyber-attacks like hacking, phishing, logic, and email bombing, denial-of-service, salami slicing, data diddling, and many more.

It will be helpful for companies to secure their data and technology and opting for cyber-insurance can be a lucrative solution. Cyber-insurance is a specialty lines insurance product intended to protect businesses and individuals providing services for such businesses, from risks of IT infrastructure, information privacy, information governance liability, and activities related thereto.

Crucial aspects that are covered under cyber insurance are identity theft, social media liability, cyberstalking, malware attack, IT theft loss, phishing, email spoofing, media liability, cyber extortion, privacy, and data breach by the third party, financial loss due to cybercrime, etc. This can aid companies to tackle major cyber risks that are potential threats to their success.

Building a more sheltered set-up

While ensuring the company database can make companies safeguard their confidential information, it would be fruitful for them to be prepared in advance to navigate the risks before they even arise.

There are various cyber risk report providers, that provide simple, easy to read, and user-friendly offerings that easily assess cyber risks related to businesses and fraudulent behaviours. It is now possible to not only monitor company email addresses, corporate credit card, user account, and IBAN numbers but also provide alerts of the potential risks that may arise.

This highlights vulnerabilities and helps protect the companies before any disruption occurs to customers or suppliers through pointed reports.

It would be safe to say that the pandemic has brought forth some silver lining by accelerating the transition to digital avenues and introducing businesses with some more operational efficiencies. The unseen benefit is the fact that companies now would be more conscious of their cybersecurity. This will lead to the formation of a more safeguarded ecosystem wherein businesses will be able to assess, act, and monitor their operations for smarter risk management.

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