Digital transactions have become a necessity during the new normal. To protect themselves against COVID-19, people have resorted to online financial services for their banking and shopping needs. These services may have lessened their chances of going to the hospital, but it has increased the chances for another risk: cyberattacks.
According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), “phishing” has become the top form of attack from cyber threat actors. Phishing typically comprises of websites and emails pretending to be banks, promising money, and other commitments. A customer may get fooled into offering personal information, such as bank details, to receive them. While banks have updated processes in place to prevent identity theft such as this, it has remained a big problem still.
Private sector companies have also come out with their research on this topic. Security vendor Atlas VPN discussed the increase in ransomware attacks in their 2020 report. Based on the name alone, it is malware that breaches someone’s data by encrypting his/her files and demanding ransom in exchange for their return. When someone steals a person’s files, the severe financial damage is the most likely result. The company Garmin, for example, lost $10 million to its ransomware hackers in 2020.
Cyberattacks, in the new normal, are usually financially motivated. Due to widespread unemployment, people have difficulty finding jobs and as a result, orchestrate cyberattacks for survival. Preying on people’s online vulnerabilities has become a means of earning. More sustainable strategies to improve employment conditions must be implemented to reduce these effects on the population. True enough, businesses get affected eventually like so from retrenchment and redundancy decisions.
The rise of cyberattacks negatively affects the public’s trust not only in the government but also in businesses specializing in digital financial services. For non-financial businesses, cyberattacks should still be taken into account as an important factor for their work from home (WFH) strategies as the next big data breach could start from an employee’s home laptop.
As the pandemic goes on, cyberattacks with new names will surely come into the fold. For the sake of their longevity, businesses need to prepare for them by purchasing, updating, or creating digital security infrastructure.