Cybercrime spikes during pandemic

A virtual town hall meeting for West Oahu residents will be held to discuss COVID-19 and other...
A virtual town hall meeting for West Oahu residents will be held to discuss COVID-19 and other issues.(Hawaii News Now/file)
Updated: Sep. 18, 2020 at 10:20 AM EDT
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(WHSV) - There has been a spike in cybercrime attacks toward individuals and small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, but cybersecurity experts say the increase falls in line with a trend they’ve seen over the last few years.

“There’s this widely available report, called the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report... In 2018 and 2019, we saw approximately 50%, essentially half of all attacks were targeting small organizations,” BlueTec LLC Founder Alex Stein said.

Stein noted that it will only continue to rise in the future: “Cybercrime is a global industry today, and it’s not going anywhere. People are making a lot of money off of it,” he said.

Stein says small organizations have increasingly been the target of hackers because they have the same valuable information as larger businesses, but they typically do not have the resources to be as protected.

Hackers may attack retail organizations or banks to get financial data. Places, like consulting firms or real estate agencies, could get personal identifiable information stolen, like social security numbers or phone numbers.

Stein noted some ways to not fall way to not fall victim to a cybercrime, one being to stay on top of updating and patching systems that are on your computer.

“The majority of attacks we see out in the wild are not overly complicated. They’re not complex and very often they don’t necessarily leverage malware in the traditional sense,” Stein said. “Typically they’re exploiting vulnerabilities that have been fixed by manufacturers.”

Stein says it’s also important to use strong passwords and to not recycle them: “A lot of people sort of see that as a burden, but using things like password managers with strong encryption. There are a ton of options out there,” he said.

Stien also recommends you use multi-use factor authentication whenever you can, use strong anti-virus applications, and back up your data.

“Make sure that you have total control over all of your IT assets. Make sure that you have the ability to remotely monitor your systems, make sure you have the ability to remotely wipe them in the event they’re stolen,” Stein said.

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