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The Aftermath of Covid-19 and its Effects on Cybersecurity


Have you received a truly convincing phishing email in your inbox urging you to follow a link to change your account settings? For a split second, all of us are almost convinced until we dig further and realise that the email address and the file attachment looks seriously dubious. Although it seems that such instances can be easily avoided with a thorough check through the message source, cyber threats often require layered technologies to prevent its occurrence. In fact, data breaches has costed US$2.1 trillion in 2019 globally, revealing the magnitude of damage from the lack of cybersecurity.


In Southeast Asia (SEA), Singapore’s largest healthcare group, SingHealth saw a data breach of 1.5 million patients in 2019 while 12 of Malaysia’s mobile network providers had a data breach affecting 46 million mobile users in 2017, more than the country’s entire population. Despite substantial economic growth, SEA only invested 0.06 percent of the region’s financial output on cybersecurity. With the pandemic forcing businesses to function remotely, cybersecurity has only become even more critical and SEA definitely needs to increase investments on cybersecurity. As for businesses, document sharing and video conferencing online has taken the forefront as we work from home and malicious cyber criminals have begun to capitalise on the new normal.


This tectonic shift towards digitalising the work place has allowed cyber criminals an opportunity to steal private data and information. Google’s Chrome saw spywares leaching onto its user’s business logins that went undetected by antivirus softwares and Zoom had their meetings infiltrated by hackers earlier this year. As we place reliance on collaborative tools online, the immunity of these digital criminals have made us reconsider the security of web browsers and platforms that we use to communicate and work from home.


Despite its vulnerabilities, virtualising our workplaces is the most viable solution for businesses to reduce the impact from the pandemic, as such there is a greater need for secure and reliable platforms that we can trust to protect organisational data. Although cyber threats such as phishing and malwares will continue becoming resistant, one thing is for sure, investing in cybersecurity and Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) can enable businesses to stay one step ahead of these cyber criminals. Although it might seem counterintuitive to make investments as companies attempt to reduce their losses in the bullish economy, the hefty costs spent on cyber-attack forensics can be easily eliminated by preventing these attacks from happening in the first place.


Although measures to contain the virus are easing as the economies reopen in SEA, remote work is here to stay. Countries will require strong digital infrastructure that is able to support this transition to help its businesses and economy recover quickly in the aftermath of the pandemic.


How you can safeguard yourself against cyber crimes:


1. Watch for phishy email requests for confidential information

Sensitive information from banks or a trusted organization will not request them through an email


2. Scrutinise links and email attachments

Cyber criminals tend to make use of links that disguise themselves by creating very misleading addresses by replacing or removing letters. eg: www.paypa1.com (fake) vs www.paypal.com (real)

You can also hover your cursor over these links to view the complete address and compare them to the actual site’s address


3. Set strong passwords and change them regularly

Use a combination of letters in upper and lower case as well as numbers and symbols to create complex passwords


4. Pair VPN with public WiFis

Using public WiFi without a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can cause your personal data stored on your device to be compromised


Our products such as the Identity Audit and Compliance Manager, and Privilege Identity Manager can help safeguard your business against rising security threats. Be at the forefront of your company’s security needs and talk to us today.

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