Pandemic accelerated transformation in cybercrime and security habits

Changes in smartphone usage, cryptocurrency, and IT security once the worldwide pandemic started

Covid-19 changed the worldPandemic affected various parts of the world, including cyber security trends.

The pandemic changed tendencies in recruiting, everyday habits and affected PC security significantly. People got to adapt to working at home when the Covid-19 hit the world, and now people spend more time online, use smartphones and their personal computers more often than before.[1] However, this is not only the problem for those less tech-savvy users because cybercriminals haven't slept on their backs too. Cyber attacks on enterprises and everyday users jumped during these difficult times too.[2]

Various officials comment that worldwide industries encounter acceleration due to this digital transformation. Shopping online, employee engagement, social consciousness got affected positively. IT and security trends in 2021 got set by the tendencies last year. Numerous cybersecurity solutions rise faster than ever before because many businesses tend to spend more money to adopt the best cybersecurity policies. This is a crucial part of the future of companies in various sectors.

Implementing secure authentication involves the use of more entries of security. Various companies claim to be featuring more advanced multi-authentication features to keep their clients safe. People turned to smartphones due to the fast-changing implementations of security measures. However, companies like Microsoft state that phone-based multi-factor authentication will not help since telephone network security is weak to start with. Sophisticated hackers can still access those devices and check the code needed to control or record any data.

Trends that changed due to pandemic and cybersecurity needs

Cloud storage and databases have been increasingly storing more data, and breaches[3] become more dangerous and serious. Cyberattack increases, and personal computing tools, cloud storage, public, and private IT infrastructures might suffer such data leaks. Last year showed that the number of these attacks has increased to never-before-seen amounts. It is even believed that this year will witness more.

According to some research [4], at least 43% of these cyber attacks target small businesses, so only a small percentage of those companies have needed tools for neutralizing threats. These small businesses suffer most in such attacks because the impact is more significant. Not all companies have the resources to replace people with robots and implement automatic processes that could help keep corporations less exposed to hackers and make them more technologically advanced.

Another trend is the fact that cyber attacks on critical infrastructures increase significantly too. These companies have been the top concern for various security experts and leaders in cybersecurity. Still, the infrastructures like healthcare and financial companies, transportation, energy sectors remain some of the most valuable.

Big banks remain one of the more common targets, but fortunately, many resources are needed to hack these companies, so not every criminal can achieve that.

These critical infrastructures suffer from hackers who use:

  • cyber threats;
  • C&C injections;
  • parameter manipulations;
  • web application attacks;
  • DDoS attacks;
  • bots;
  • scams.

Treat actors try to maximize these exploitation opportunities to stamp their grounds further. Malicious actors become enemies of the state since various government agencies record spikes in attacks, and these numbers jump higher and higher. This is changing the requirements for more advanced authentication. Passwords remain standard techniques used across platforms, but multi-factor authentication[5] will become the most important thing when it comes to avoiding cyber-attacks.

Closed stores opens online shopping optionsCredit card information can get leaked or obtained by hackers when shopping online.

Phones become more used than any other device due to technological advances

Smartphones managed to evolve during this global pandemic. Since the work shifted to remote work and challenged various companies, including telecommunications, many organizations adapted to the new normal. Smartphones had to fulfill the need for social interactions, and the usage of them increased significantly. It shows that screen time increased by more than 150% when the quarantine started and the world had to shut down.

Popular video conferencing platforms enabled employees to work and stay connected to family and loved ones. Smartphones are used more often than personal computers or laptops. Texting and video calling has increased during 2020. Numbers show that people use these features at least 30% more than before. Facebook Messenger and other apps experience an increase in weekly video and group calls. Video calls should become the new normal for communication.

Video calling becomes new normalSecurity is not considered when our world becomes more involved in online socializing.

Smartphones, however, should not only serve as a way to communicate. These devices help people to keep themselves safe. Mobile payments and shopping apps increased when shops closed, and social distancing became an important thing. Payments that do not require contact increased over 150% when compared to 2019.[6]

Unfortunately, cyberspace safety should also be in question while using these devices to pay for food, clothes, or other things. Smartphone owners need to be vigilant about their own safety and try to keep their personal data safe, manage connections, use financial applications, mix work and personal emails, and other accounts.

  • connect to only secure networks;
  • always log-off remote connections after a workday;
  • use a personal computer for personal things;
  • use work computers for work-related activities.

Digital money and cryptocurrency popularity

Since there are tons of different types of cryptocurrency, people choose the best according to their interests. Many commercial companies include cryptocurrency as the type for payment, and people invest in the currency to make millions these days. Pandemic influenced different trends in eCommerce and business of all types. Cyber weeks for discounts turned into cyber moths, and people prioritized online shopping more. There comes financial applications, payments without contact, banking online services, and cryptocurrency usage.

Cryptocurrency gains popularityPopular cryptocurrencies gain more investors and traders that do not pay attention to risks.

The rise of different currencies stirs the pot for cryptocurrency and raises worry for investors. Some of the currencies drop in value,[7] while others gain popularity. Scams involving particular investors or creators like Elon Musk[8] and cryptocurrency become common and dangerous. This part of cryptocurrency trading has risks since not every person who gets into trading knows all the possible issues when they start. Unexpected changes in the market can lead to sharp changes in value and monetary losses. Cybersecurity is also a huge risk.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, this currency approached a tipping point since attackers managed to get sophisticated methods and target various platforms and sources where money could be stolen directly from people or obtained differently. However, cybersecurity also managed to get advanced during the pandemic, so organizations started to think about cybersecurity more and more. Cybersecurity should become one of the few top industries where money gets invested more and more.

About the author
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Anti-malware specialist

Julie Splinters is the News Editor of 2-spyware. Her bachelor was English Philology.

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