Why investment in security is now more important than ever
Since the Prime Minister announced that the UK would be entering lockdown on 23rd March, businesses across the country have been scrambling to come to terms with the new reality. For some, it has been about getting to grips with a decline in revenue, a reduced workforce and an uncertain economic forecast, which has understandably caused many companies to reassess the things that are most important to business continuity. One factor that should not be overlooked is cybersecurity.
The threat posed to businesses by hackers has been somewhat overshadowed by the events of the last few months. The immediate danger of the virus has countermanded the less tangible threat of cyber actors, as businesses batten down the hatches in a bid to prevent the very real possibility of closures and redundancies. However, as the government continues to ease restrictions and the country returns to normal, the importance of cybersecurity is once again rising to the fore.
Blood in the water – hackers circling during the crisis
Throughout the pandemic, we have been reminded of the opportunistic nature of cyber actors who have sought to exploit uncertainty and fear. Cybercriminals have capitalised on the crisis by creating malware and launching attacks with a coronavirus theme. There has also been a notable rise in attacks aimed at healthcare and research institutions intended to disrupt and undermine the global efforts to treat and research COVID-19. The US Health and Human Services Department suffered a cyber-attack on its computer system, for instance.
The pandemic has also brought to light the cyber risk posed to businesses by employees working remotely. A recent survey by Kaspersky found that more than 60% of employees use personal devices to do work at home, which can have significant security risks. There are concerns that the new remote working world has poked holes in security perimeters, which could be exploited as the white-collar workforce return to the office.
Cyber warfare – businesses and consumers caught in the cross-fire
Despite the pandemic, hackers have been relentless in their pursuits. In the international domain, geopolitics and surging nation-state cyber aggression has become an all too familiar topic in the media. This month alone, Australia was targeted by a state-sponsored cyber-attack, Twitter removed thousands of China-backed disinformation accounts, and Iranian and Chinese hackers were revealed to have been behind attacks on Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s US presidential election campaigns.
Enterprises in the firing line
At an enterprise level, there has been no security respite, with several large companies continuing to make the headlines. The sharp rise in the number of remote workers accessing Zoom’s conference service shone an unwelcome light on the company’s security policies and shortcomings. Japanese car manufacturer, Honda was forced to suspend global production after a virus infiltrated the company’s internal servers. In May, EasyJet suffered a data breach, which leaves the airline company facing an £18 billion class-action law suit. In the age of GDPR, businesses are still very much under scrutiny when it comes to security. Failure to implement proper security measures and failure to protect customer data could still result in huge, and potentially terminal, financial implications.
Despite this, the coronavirus pandemic has caused some to question whether cybersecurity budgets will survive as businesses are forced to prioritise spending elsewhere. It is incredibly important that businesses balance the need to make cuts to outlast the economic downturn with responsible investment in cybersecurity technology, skills and expertise. The regularity with which security has been in the news should serve as a stark reminder of its importance to the modern enterprise. Now is not the time to take the foot off the gas!
At Babel, we’re proud to work with some of the businesses at the forefront of cybersecurity. Our expertise in building and implementing impactful campaigns on behalf of our security clients is unmatched. As lockdown restrictions are lifted, businesses will need to start assessing security posture and considering their options. If you’d be interested in learning how an integrated PR and communications programme can help you be a part of those conversations, we’d love to hear from you.
Edward Cooper, Campaign Manager