It’s been only a few months since some regions of the world are slowly leaving the quarantine and trying to get back to everyday life. The lockdown revealed several issues, like mental stress after prolonged solitude, inability to concentrate while working from home, economic issues, and alike.
One of the problems that almost nobody thought about was cybersecurity. Before the Covid-19 crisis, businesses and politicians alike warned about a tremendous lack of cybersecurity specialists in the area. The Internet exploded so fast that technology got out of hand. And because of the rapid speed of its development, it wasn’t secured adequately.
Over time cybercrime started drawing more and more criminals looking for an easy money grab. And since financial transactions are gradually moving online, they have more opportunities to profit. That’s why it’s imperative to take action and protect yourself online because, in this state, the Internet is still haunted by vulnerabilities, data leaks, and a lack of regulations.
On the other hand, the need for cybersecurity services made this an attractive opportunity for investors. For example, the Virtual Private Network (VPN) market exploded, and demand for VPNs increased by 44% during March 2020, when the first lockdowns hit. VPNs illuminate the cybersecurity issues during the quarantine very well. But first, let’s overview what they do.
A Virtual Private Network is an online privacy protection oriented cybersecurity service. It encrypts all of the users’ online traffic and reroutes it through one of its servers. This serves two purposes: additional encryption ensures that online data flow is protected from third-party espionage; second, rerouting the data flow from an Internet Service Provider to a VPN server ensures that user data won’t be sold to the highest bidder, which is legal in the US.
The first VPNs were developed in 1996 for business protection. They allowed remote workers to connect to corporate intranets and access confidential data with safety. The direct relation to the quarantine should be obvious – most of us had to work remotely and got to know VPNs for the very first time.
So one of the main cybersecurity issues during the lockdown is the security of the home network. While at the office, we enjoy the benefits of a corporate network: a strong firewall, spyware and malware protection, network access control system, and in some companies – a cyber risk assessment team.
This all disappears when working from home. But, unfortunately, cybercriminals know these tendencies very well, and they shifted their attention to an easier target. It came to light that an average Internet user knows little about good cybersecurity practices, and hitting them with Phishing related to Covid-19 scams is an efficient way to get unauthorized access to a home network. And due to Work From Home get access to confidential information.
Bad password management is another issue. The home network begins with a router, which is your gateway to the Internet. A router can be accessed over the Internet from outside of your home network, and that’s why they are hidden behind a password. Usually, routers are sold with manufacturer-issued passwords, the typical combination being “login: root; password: admin”. If a consumer doesn’t change this password to a stronger one, he or she is a juicy and easy target to attack.
To handle passwords, one can use a password manager. First of all, there are way too many services with passwords to remember them all by heart. Just compare the Internet fifteen years ago and now – the increase of available Apps and services is staggering. Second, cybercriminals also developed new hacking techniques to break passwords, and using “qwerty” or “password123” just isn’t good enough.
Let’s take the NordPass password manager as an example of how to solve this problem—NordPass stores all passwords in an encrypted vault, protecting them from cybercriminals that can’t decipher them. Moreover, they have a strict zero-knowledge architecture, which means that absolutely nobody – not even NordPass staff – can gain access to your vault.
This is extremely useful since Credential Stuffing attacks are also on the rise during the crisis. Hackers obtain username and password combinations from numerous data leaks and then use them on different services in hopes that the same combination is used. Password managers solve the issue by storing hundreds of different, long, and complex passwords safely.
As we can see, the two main issues are home network security and password management. And even when the lockdown is over, one should invest in cybersecurity since it doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon.