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Cyber Attacks Increasing

There is no doubt this is a challenging time for individuals and businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether businesses are still homeworking or venturing back to work it’s becoming clear that there are malicious individuals that are looking to take advantage of these uncertain times.

The volume of cyber-attacks is increasing at a huge rate, whether this be through simple email scams or full on ransomware attacks, they are evolving and becoming a bigger and bigger threat.  The Police Action Fraud team already announced an increase by 400% during March for Coronavirus related frauds taking place.  This will come as no surprise when you consider that Google are reporting as many as 18 million hoax emails around Covid-19 every day, with that volume some attacks are going to get through, and people will become victims of those attacks.

We are becoming increasingly aware of new and dangerous attacks that are in circulation, while a number of already known attacks are also rearing their heads for another circulation.  Working with the various Anti-Virus providers we know that they are working hard to ensure that they offer the best possible protection.  However, they can only protect against what they know and with new, more complex attacks happening all the time they certainly have an uphill battle on their hands. 

One such situation was an alert we received from Sophos recently, they reported that a new attack called Ragnar Locker actually deploys a virtual machine within your environment that enables the attack to dodge security measures and actually hide the ransomware from view. As a ransomware style attack, this is all about stealing data and holding it to ransom wanting businesses to pay money to get their data back.  As you will see in the Sophos link above, there is a claim of 10 Terabytes of data stolen from a Portuguese energy company to which they demanded $11 million USD in ransom.  With the complexity of this type of attack and the impact of ransomware especially, these attacks must be taken extremely seriously.

Another situation that has also been widely reported on the news was the recent announcement by EasyJet that they had been hacked.  While not a direct link to the Covid-19 pandemic, due to it taking place in January, it is further proof that these attacks can and will happen, even to the largest organisations.

So, what can you do to stop these types of attacks and prevent these types of infection? 

Well the very first thing you need to do is make sure that all devices have suitable protection and that the protection is kept fully up to date.  While that sounds straight forward, with the homeworking taking place across the country there is no guarantee that the machines in use are even company owned and adhere to company IT policies.  If there is any doubt then contact our Support Team who will be able to check, review and advise.

There are increased policies and security measures that we can also put in place around servers, software applications and firewalls.  However, with every tightening of the security on these elements can come changes in the way that staff work, so they should always be completed with the involvement of our skilled IT Consultants who will be able to work with you to get the best solution for your business.

The final piece to the puzzle is the awareness of your users.  They are arguably the first and last line of defence against many types of attacks, one mistake by one user could cause a major issue. The key step in helping protect against all these attacks is awareness and education of all users to ensure they know what to look out for.  If anyone is in any doubt then contact our Cambridge Support Helpdesk team. They are available on or 01223 921 000 and we’ll be able to help!

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