From COVID-19 to a Cybercrime Epidemic: Security is More Top of Mind than Ever in 2021


JULY 2021

By: Ali Gomulu

When the Covid-19 pandemic began, IT and network professionals at nearly every enterprise were forced into action, as remote work became the norm following the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations across all industries were forced to go digital, which unfortunately led to a boom-time for potential cybercriminals. 

Reports of cybercrime shot up by almost 70 percent in the US compared to 2019, as the lockdown created an ideal environment for cybercriminals. Overnight, businesses had to convert to remote working models, people had to work off their own unsecured devices, data became mobile, and businesses had to operate in a way that their security strategies were totally unprepared for. 

The RSA’s Quarterly Fraud Report found that during the Covid-19 pandemic, phishing and ransomware remained the most common approach, accounting for 33 percent of all cyberattacks. On top of this, with so many new devices in use due to remote work, account takeover attempts soared, and logins to a new account from a new device accounted for 31 percent of fraud activity. The amount of fraudulent activity originating from a mobile device also increased by more than 25 percent, with employees using their own devices to log onto work servers. 

It’s for these reasons that the shift to digital during COVID-19 puts cybersecurity risk at the forefront of organizations’ concerns. According to a survey done by MetricStream, nearly half of survey respondents (48.91%) listed cybersecurity as their top business risk, and this was even more prevalent among respondents in the Banking and Financial Services Industry (52.94%). 

However, even now, as vaccines start to roll out and we begin to enter a post-pandemic era, cybersecurity will remain a priority for many businesses moving forward, whether they move back to in-person work environments, stick with remote work, or some mixture of the two. All signs are seemingly pointing to remote and/or hybrid working becoming the norm for many businesses, meaning organizations will need to overhaul their security strategy to monitor an increase in the use of endpoints, mobile device use, and third-party relationships. 

There are many ways that organizations today can improve their cybersecurity as we continue to move forward into the digital age. However, one of the most vital is the incorporation of Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions. 

Ironsphere’s PAM solution offers many benefits to businesses across a variety of industries, as no one industry is immune to cybercriminals and potential attacks. (PAM) is a cybersecurity domain within Identity and Access Management (IAM) that focuses on monitoring and controlling privileged users and privileged accounts within an organization.

Privileged users access an organization’s critical systems, resources, and assets using elevated or unrestricted accounts, such as privileged accounts. These accounts include local and domain administrative accounts, service accounts, emergency accounts, and application accounts. They are primary targets of both external and internal malicious users and have been used in successful attacks to gain access to an organization’s critical systems and resources.

Ironsphere’s PAM solution offers each industry the benefits they require to ward off potential cyber attackers. PAM solutions provide monitoring, auditing, tracking, and authentication controls to prevent unauthorized access to critical systems and privilege misuse.

In the healthcare industry, the rise of new connected devices, and the steady increase in the use of telehealth, have made the industry especially vulnerable to attacks and insider threats. PAM solutions protect those devices and limit the sprawl of a breach, should that breach be identified and subsequently stopped. With insider threats on the rise, the solutions offered by Ironsphere are investments in reducing risk by more than fifty percent.

In the financial services industry, PAM solutions are critical. Given that internal threats represent a large percentage of breaches affecting the financial services industry, the need for a quickly deployed and agile access control system is at the top of every C-level executive’s list. Ironsphere’s PAM solution protects financial service organizations from the types of breaches that can halt trading, impact significant financial transactions, and could include unauthorized account transfers, identity theft, and accessing of strategic and confidential information held by investment banks venture capital firms, and more. 

Overall, Ironsphere’s PAM solutions give companies the tools necessary to keep themselves safe and secure from the variety of cybercriminals looking to gain access for their own personal benefit. And though the pandemic seems to be coming to an end, the amount of devices connected to the web is only going to continue to increase, meaning companies must not let their guard down and should take advantage of every possible solution at their disposal to make sure their data is only being seen by the right eyes.

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