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Fighting another “pandemic”

Fighting another “pandemic”

As we look ahead to 2021, security companies continue to take care of customers dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, while also battling a cyber pandemic that saw a record surge in data leaks in 2020.

According to a report recently released by Atlas VPN, analysis based on Risk Based Security data reveals that exposed data hit a record 36.1 billion in the first three quarters of 2020. This record number of data leaks is more than two times higher than all of 2019 and makes up more than half (5 percent) of all exposed data in the past five years.

With more and more people enjoying the benefits of working from home during the pandemic, technology has never been more critical in day-to-day operations for companies worldwide. While this may be seen as a positive for organizations in conducting business online, cybercriminals are also taking advantage of the increased use of telecommuting, to such a degree that the term “pandemic” could also be applied to the cyber universe.

Data breaches, ransomware, and other cybersecurity threats are on the rise in record numbers, with the most commonly exposed data types being names (45 percent), emails (36 percent), and passwords (29 percent), according to the report, which is all the key information needed for accessing someone's account.

The report also states that hacks were the leading cause of data breaches in 2020, with “misconfigured databases and services” being the main reason behind this record number of records exposed.

Another Atlas VPN study revealed that one-fifth (19.8 percent) of employees fell for phishing emails even if they had gone through security awareness training. In addition, 67.5 percent of these employees also entered their credentials, such as passwords, on the phishing webpage. It’s safe to say that a company’s worst fear is learning that employee and/or client data is leaked or breached.

With the number of cybersecurity threats approaching staggering rates in the new year, how do security professionals like yourselves respond? You implement the necessary cybersecurity measures to ensure that private and sensitive data is not exposed, leaked, or breached.

The Atlas VPN report outlined some precautions that businesses could take to lessen the chances of data leaks and breaches, such as third-party intelligence and pen-testing services, employee education, patching and updating software on a regular basis, and using multi-factor authentication for system access.

During these uncertain times, the Covid-19 pandemic is not going away anytime soon. While we cannot compare life-and-death matters to matters pertaining to cybersecurity, we could at least deliver some semblance of peace of mind during a cyber pandemic that is also not going anywhere anytime soon.




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