Cyber Security Impact of COVID-19

Apr 09, 2020

Guest Blog by Michael Gray, CTO, Thrive

The challenge this pandemic brings is new ground for most businesses. Every single company we speak with has questions ranging from secure remote access to mobility, cyber security and other areas as a result of how the past week has changed the way they do business.

Security Vigilance – Scams & Hacks

With the likelihood that you are sharing your home network with family or housemates, it’s beneficial you, and they, know that impact that looming cyber threats could have on your work environment.

First, we recommend that if there are any devices operating on your network that do not have an antivirus installed, it’s best to enable Windows Defender at minimum. This is because due to the heightened attention around the COVID-19 virus, attackers have taken the opportunity to develop new attacks and leverage social engineering as a means to compromise networks. 

It’s likely that we will see an influx of phishing attempts around COVID-19. For example, an email subject line may refer to an announcement of a vaccine or some amazing statistic around the virus. If something seems unbelievable, it probably is. Before opening an email or clicking a link with this kind of information, review other channels such as Twitter, major news networks or official government websites. A simple Google search of the headline should tell you whether or not it is real.

Falsifying outbreak maps is another method attackers are exploiting to deliver malware. It’s critical to pause before reviewing these online resources. I ask that everyone keep their guard up not only as good practice but because there are bad actors that are going strike in the middle of this event.

Official Resources include:

The World Health Organization update site is:

The National Institute of Health update site is:

Internet Performance

With the Massachusetts stay-at-home advisory in effect, it’s important to look at your home network and prepare for possible diminished performance over the coming weeks. Many networks are not designed to have their bandwidth consumed 24×7; but fortunately, most national Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have had sufficient time to prepare for the impact of COVID-19 and business workloads shifting to the home.

If you find that you experience issues with internet capacity, one step towards mitigation is to utilize 4G & 5G unlimited data plans on mobile devices and set up your phone as a hotspot. This has an added benefit of providing an additional layer of security for business traffic if your home isn’t properly equipped with a business-level firewall or you don’t have SSL VPN capabilities.

Another step is to analyze your equipment. If you’ve had the same router for more than three years, now may be a good time to upgrade. With newer, multi-band routers you can segment your wireless network into two networks, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, making one personal and one business.

Need a stronger solution? Many ISPs are assisting clients with temporary upgrades of their bandwidth without long-term contracts. Even if your provider requires a long-term contract, there are likely good deals out there for substantial increases in bandwidth based on a multi-year term.

If you would like to discuss the business challenges you are facing, we are offering a consultation free of charge. To schedule a consultation or if you have questions, please fill out this form.

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