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Enterprises report increase in security threats and attacks during COVID-19 outbreak: Report

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Check Point  Software Technologies has announced findings from a new survey, conducted by Dimensional Research, examining the Coronavirus pandemic’s impact on enterprise security. The findings show that the rapid changes to enterprise working practices, and broader concerns about the pandemic, are both being exploited by cybercriminals as they step up their attacks, generating a raft of new challenges for security professionals.

Key findings from the survey of 411 IT and security professionals globally are:

• Coronavirus related attacks ramp up – 71 per cent of security professionals reported an increase in security threats or attacks since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak. The leading threat cited was phishing attempts (cited by 55 per cent or respondents), followed by malicious websites claiming to offer information or advice about the pandemic (32 per cent), followed by increases in malware (28 per cent) and ransomware (19 per cent).

• Challenges of managing remote working increase – 95 per cent of respondents said they are facing added IT security challenges due to the spread of the Coronavirus. The three leading challenges were provision of secure remote access for employees (cited by 56 per cent), the need for remote access scalable solutions (55 per cent) and employees working from home were using shadow IT solutions – untested software, tools and services (47 per cent).

• Security concerns over the coming months – 61 per cent of respondents were concerned about the security risks of having to make rapid changes to enable remote working, and 55 per cent felt that remote access security needed improving. 49 per cent are concerned about the need to scale-up endpoint security.

“Cybercriminals will always seek to capitalize on the latest trends to try and boost the success rates of attacks, and the Coronavirus pandemic has created a perfect storm of a global news event together with dramatic changes in working practices and the technologies used by organizations. This has meant a significant increase in the attack surface of many organizations, which is compromising their security postures,” said Rafi Kretchmer, Head of Product Marketing at Check Point.

“To ensure security and business continuity in this rapidly evolving situation, organizations need to protect themselves with a holistic, end-to-end security architecture. This means ensuring accessible and reliable connections between corporate networks and remote devices 24/7, promoting collaboration and productivity between teams, networks and offices, and deploying robust protection against advanced threats and cybercrime techniques at all points on the enterprise network fabric.”

The survey results reinforce Check Point’s recent findings that Coronavirus-related domains are 50 per cent more likely to be malicious than other domains registered since January 2020, and indeed the average number of new domains registered in the three weeks from the end of February was almost 10 times more than the average number found in previous weeks. Similarly, Check Point’s researchers have uncovered several ‘Coronavirus specials’ advertised by hackers on the dark web, with ‘Covid-19’ or ‘coronavirus’ being used as discount codes for sales of out-of-the-box malware.

The survey was conducted by Dimensional Research, with 411 respondents from organizations of over 500 employees globally.

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