According to the Trend Micro Annual Cybersecurity Report 2020, pandemic-related threats contributed to a marked increase in cybersecurity threats.

In fact, the report notes that threats increased by 20%, with nearly 16.4 million pandemic-related threats that mostly stemmed from spam.

As the pandemic took hold and more employees worked from home, Trend Micro noted a rise in attacks on remote workers. They reported that attacks on device in the home rose 201% from 929 million in 2019 to nearly 2.9 billion last year.

Last year, our CEO, Tim Docker, warned of the dangers posed by cyber threats, particularly from employees working at home. Known as ransomware, it is made easier for hackers with staff working from home, outside of the traditional corporate LAN. The report also documents a rise in attacks of routers from 1.14 million in 2019 to 1.49 million in 2020.

With teams not coming back into the office until June at the earliest, these threats will only continue. And consider the post-pandemic working world. Tim Docker wrote about how he believes we will settle on some form of hybrid working in the future. With that in mind, security threats faced by homeworking employees are set to remain. This puts business data and systems at risk.

It’s critical that employees understand how to recognise ransomware and phishing attacks.

Spotting Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware can lead to the complete locking of the company’s systems. It can be spread by tricking recipients into downloading malicious email attachments, which prompt scripts to automatically run on their systems, or hackers exploiting other vulnerabilities, most commonly around VPNs. Ransomware usually starts an attack by trying to remain undetected and slowly encrypts files on after another. However, unlike other cyber attacks, ransomware makes its presence known in the form of a demand for a monetary sum to unlock the files

Recognising Phishing Attacks

Phishing is quite a personal attack method that tries to trick the victim into believing that a trusted source – HMRC, employer, friends – needs something from them. This could be information, pieces of identifiable data, or even money. The most common requests are for login credentials. This is where the security of your company data is under threat.

Whilst many phishing attacks happen via email, it is by no means the only method used. Both text messages and phone calls have been used to garner personal information.

So, what is the answer?

Every business should have a robust cybersecurity strategy implemented to include hardware, software, policies, systems and processes, regular testing and optimisation. MPS offers a comprehensive framework of cybersecurity solutions to suit any and every business.

Should you have any concerns contact us now to arrange your free MPS Cyber Risk Assessment which includes vulnerability scans, breach reports and a bespoke review with a cybersecurity specialist.

In addition to a robust cybersecurity strategy, it’s critical that staff understand how to recognise phishing and ransomware attacks. Download this PDF which gives advice on how to detect suspicious emails and SMS text messages.