81% of Organizations Experienced Increased Cyber-Threats During COVID-19

More than four in five (81%) organizations experienced increased cyber-threats during the COVD-19 pandemic, according to a new study by McAfee and FireEye.

The global survey of 1451 IT and line of business decision-makers found that close to half (43%) have suffered from downtime due to a cyber concern. This resulted in costs of $100,000 for some organizations.

Despite the increased threat landscape and the fact that over half (57%) of organizations saw a rise in online/web activity, 24% of respondents revealed they have had their technology and security budgets reduced over this period.

The study also highlighted cybersecurity concerns felt by a number of organizations ahead of this year’s holiday season. Despite many industries expecting to see a surge in demand for goods and services, three-quarters (75%) of organizations admitted they struggle to maintain a fully staffed security team during the festive period. Additionally, 73% of respondents expect at least half of their organization’s employees to work remotely over this time, making them more vulnerable to attacks.

McAfee highlighted e-commerce and retail as a particularly vulnerable sector, with cyber-criminals likely to take advantage of increased online shopping in this period. Common attack methods include compromised payment credentials and cloud storage, as well as various forms of retail fraud and theft.

Additionally, the company said the UK’s supply chain crisis, brought about by loss of manufacturing capacity and employee power, has potentially created a weak and vulnerable infrastructure cyber-criminals can exploit.

Fabien Rech, EMEA vice president at McAfee, highlighted that businesses should learn from these findings: “While the current climate paints a bleak picture, this should really serve as a reminder to businesses that there’s never been a more important time to ensure their security architecture is robust enough to contain and respond to any emerging threats.

“As we enter into peak holiday season and the goods and services industries face logistical and supply challenges during a time of high demand, organizations need to strengthen their infrastructure and ramp up their security efforts, making it more challenging for-cyber criminals to break through.”

This week, McAfee announced a $14bn takeover by private investors.

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