#COVID19 Drives Network Security Disruption for Global Firms

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of global firms have experienced network security disruption due to the sudden recent shift to home working, with some predicting a major surge in data breaches, according to new reports out this week.

IT services firm Neustar polled hundreds of security professionals across Europe and the US to compile its latest Neustar International Security Council (NISC) findings.

It revealed that almost a quarter (23%) are experiencing major disruption to network security practices, while 61% said their VPNs have suffered connectivity issues. The figures may be linked to the fact that 29% of responding companies admitted not having a fully executable business plan for network security in the event of a major crisis.

Rodney Joffe, chairman of NISC and fellow at Neustar, argued that government lockdowns have dramatically changed network connection patterns across the globe.

“More than 90% of an organization’s employees typically connect to the network locally with a slim minority relying on remote connectivity via a VPN, but that dynamic has flipped,” he added.

“The dramatic increase in VPN use has led to frequent connectivity issues, and — especially considering the disruption to usual security practices — it also creates significant risk, as it multiplies the potential impact of a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. VPNs are an easy vector for a DDoS attack.”

DDoS attacks were named as the greatest concern of respondents (23%), followed by system compromise (22%) and ransomware (18%). Social engineering via email was named an increasing threat to organizations by most respondents (61%).

In fact, the surge in COVID-19-themed phishing attacks since the start of the pandemic will likely lead to a “dramatic increase” in data breaches, according to one vendor.

IT asset disposal firm DSA Connect argued that home workers are more likely to visit suspicious websites, and are more exposed to spear-phishing due to the large number of online or phone-based meetings filling their days.

According to the firm, the number of COVID-specific fraud reports registered with the UK’s National Economic Crime Centre in March was 277% higher than for the six weeks to March 18.

“In the wake of coronavirus and with more people working from home, fraudsters have stepped up their targeting of companies and their employees, and this dramatically increases the chances of data breaches,” predicted chairman, Henry Benham.

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