#Infosec20: Impact of #COVID19 is 2020's Leading Security Trend

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is the most prominent trend in cybersecurity for 2020, according to Infosecurity Magazine's latest State of Cybersecurity Report.

As outlined in a session at the Infosecurity Europe Virtual Conference, in the annual report, which this year surveyed 75 people including 25 cyber-practitioners, 25 people working in academia and 25 venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, 30% of those polled said that COVID-19’s impact on cybersecurity is an influential trend affecting the industry.

Reasons for this varied, including the escalation of phishing and malicious attacks related to the pandemic, as well as the mass movement remote workforces, deployment of VPN and collaboration tools, and the rapid nature in which they were deployed.

BluBracket CEO and founder Ajay Arora said the spread of COVID-19 “has completely changed the cybersecurity landscape” as companies are straining to quickly enable remote workers securely. Tech innovator and entrepreneur Dmitry Akulov said even before COVID-19, more and more companies were becoming more and more dependent on remote work, but the pandemic accelerated that. “I believe that the pandemic will have lasting results on the workplace with more and more businesses who were (at first) slow to the race allowing for workers to stay remote (at least partially),” he added.

“Now more than ever, it’s crucial for companies to create an emergency security plan. It has become important to educate your workers on the risks they face, not just keeping security issues as an internal task that gets handled by experts. We must all become to some degree experts in security for the safety of companies worldwide. Security will no longer be an issue for the IT guy, security is now dependent on all of us.”

Arno Robbertse, chief executive of ITC Secure, cited increased cyber-attacks against the healthcare industry as cyber-criminals make use of the pandemic in various attack vectors. “Examples we’ve seen include phishing emails pretending to be from the World Health Organization, to more sophisticated forms of intrusion via encryption methods,” he said.

Otavio Freire, Safeguard Cyber CTO and president, also cited the “issues of disinformation and cybersecurity” as continuing to converge. He said: “COVID-19 is just one example where it is both being tuned on corporations and consumers for ransomware and spear-phishing, and used by nation states to further destabilize and wreak havoc on countries and its citizens by creating panic and confusion.”

However, we have also seen support operations form as a result of the pandemic, including C5 creating the C5 Cyber Health Allliance to secure European healthcare organizations, the formation of the CV19 volunteer group and malicious URL collection services launched.

These collaborative initiatives will provide the necessary support and means for hospitals and clinics to protect their internal systems and defend against unwanted cyber-threats.

The other top five trends were cloud (26%), Machine Learning and AI (25%), the human factor (24%) and phishing (18%). In total, 34 trends were cited in this year’s research, which was conducted between March and May 2020.

Surprisingly compliance did not feature in this year’s top five trends, after it was the top trend in our 2018 report, and came in third place in 2019. Also not appearing in the top five were ransomware, IoT and patch management.

Download the Infosecurity 2020 State of Cybersecurity Report here

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