Cybercrimes Are Skyrocketing at an Alarming Rate during COVID-19 Crisis, Here’s What You Need to Do
During the turmoil created by COVID-19 pandemic, companies are likely to lose focus and fail to take care of security measures, manage risks, and sustain compliance requirements. Such negligence can result in a huge mistake and loss. Organizations and individuals are required to apply both reactive as well as preventive measures to safeguard themselves from cybercrimes and fraudulent activities that might occur during the crisis period.
The sudden wave of COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed people’s way of living and working. Employees were once needed to come into the office daily, however, with the enforcement of lockdown and work-from-home work models, they have started embracing the convenience, freedom, and time gained for their own selves and family from remote working. In the future, companies will have to re-evaluate present working models, and cutoff the requirement of everyday commutes, overcrowded cubicles, inflexible office hours, and many other factors.
However, cyber threats are unlikely to change—instead, they are predicted to surge during this crisis period. Even before the outbreak of this pandemic, security specialists have projected that cybercrime might cost the world trillions per annum. Companies of all sizes and types had been targeted, with three out of five businesses witnessing a fraudulent activity in 2019. Although large companies have the greatest chances of being victims of cyber-attacks, nearly 47% of small businesses and around 63% of midsize businesses reported cybercrimes, says a survey.
COVID-19 Boosts the Rate of Fraudulent Activities:
All fraudsters have one thing in common since years, and that is constant certainty that they will use any major incidents to increase and fast-track their fraudulent activities—and the COVID-19 pandemic is one among these incidents which has boosted their pace like never before. Since the very beginning of this worldwide predicament, fraud detection and prevention professionals have been observing a remarkably increased rate of fraud. The attempts for credit and debit card fraud attacks are shooting up as consumers are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing recession.
The upsurge in fraud attacks is skyrocketing as millions of Americans miss the deadline for credit card payments amidst the waning economic milieu. In April, the number of credit card accounts facing "financial hardship" programs increased by 3.2%, or 14.7 million accounts, as per a latest report by credit-reporting agency TransUnion. The same size soared only 0.01% in the last month with the outbreak of COVID-19 virus. As per a report by Research Dive, as all such fraudulent activities are rising at an alarming rate the market for fraud detection and prevention is expected to grow at a healthy growth rate of 29.6% during this crisis period.
The U.S. and the UK cyber security executives have warned that online criminals and state-backed hackers are using people's anxiety during COVID-19 as a trap to entice them for clicking on links and downloading files in phishing emails holding malware. Commercial firms are also likely to be exposed to attacks if businesses do not invest in protected laptops, advanced fraud detection & prevention software, and set up VPNs or zero-trust access solutions.
Time to be Aware and Take Actions:
In the course of this chaos, company heads are required to be careful and alert. It is very essential for a business to continue being compliant with appropriate security principles and guidelines, particularly related to plans for business continuity, policies & processes, and remote employees.
Fraudsters, who target vulnerable individuals or organizations strive to use this terrible life-threatening crisis for their own benefit. Organizations are hence required to be alert and build strong mechanisms to prevent fraud attacks in these tough times. Both organizations as well as consumers need to be aware of several types of fraud and other unlawful activities that might arise during this crisis period.
Growing incidences of COVID-19-related fraud attacks are likely to impact the overall supremacy and transparency, disrupt several sectors, and threatened the trust of the investment community. As a result, organizations must apply both reactive as well as preventive measures, as highlighted below to safeguard themselves from fatalities.
- Investigation of root causes: Deep assessment of all complaints, indications, and doubts concerning potential fraud and cybercrimes should be carried out on a timely basis. This will allow the organizations to take appropriate remedial actions and avert monetary and reputational losses.Whenever a cyber-attack takes place, the organization must not let go any breaches or cases, and must quickly and thoroughly inspect the root cause and take steps to safeguard itself from further attacks.
- Pre-emptive evaluations: Examination of procedures should be done to help the organization in evading or alleviating scam fatalities and in optimizing costs. These evaluations help in building the reputation of an organization as a brand that proactively strives to prevent criminal and fraud activities by recognizing and eradicating the loopholes and glitches in the implemented procedures and tools.
- Build awareness: Conduct awareness sessions for employees on risks and prevention of cybercrimes; fraud prevention and detection; corruption and bribery threats; and significance of compliance with respect to laws and regulations.
The Bottom Line
The COVID-19 catastrophe unlocks an opportunity for building a strong security architecture and minimizing the threats of fraudulent activities in consumer markets. Experts, consumers, and organizations will have to take decisive actions and execute the best practices to stay protected from this new menace
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