COVID-19 the biggest ever cyber security threat to hit businesses

Cyber security threats are a far bigger problem due to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to James Stickland, chief executive of authentication platform Veridium.

Having employees work from home means businesses face challenges when it comes to maintaining security, while keeping business critical-functions going.

Phishing emails related to coronavirus have risen by 667% since the end of February, security firm Barracuda Networks revealed.

Stickland said: “What makes this situation so difficult are the timeframes.

“Where typical changes of this scale are planned, researched, deployed and tested over months and even years, the UK now has just weeks to overcome some very real problems.

“These circumstances, albeit challenging and worrying, indeed present a long-term opportunity for businesses to reassess their security strategies.

“Many companies are facing increasing scrutiny over their identity verification requirements, particularly video conferencing tools which have exploded in popularity.

“At this current time, invoking business continuity must be prioritised – ensuring clients are serviced and secure authentication for remote employees is provided.”

Stickland added: “Ensuring that remote workers don’t fall foul of phishing attacks when resetting passwords will be crucial for employees working from home.

“There has been a 667% increase in funded cyberattacks on passwords, which are already the weakest link in the security trail, being responsible for over 80% of data breaches.

“Software based authentication that can be delivered remotely will be key to improving cybersecurity for home workers.

“Authentication measures that require passwords or PINs put pressure on already inundated or unavailable IT helpdesks through resets.

“More and more organisations are realising the benefits of taking a multi factor biometric approach to security, which can efficiently safeguard sensitive employee and customer data whilst future-proofing their business.”