The Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak has now officially been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). As well as causing unexpected health problems, it is also impacting the economies.

Hackers are already knocking on virtual gateways, looking for new entry points to be exploited, leading to more cybersecurity challenges for both organizations and individuals. The use of online channels has increased tremendously as more activities are transferred to the internet, ranging from online meetings, e-services, financing, shopping etc.  This new era presents increased third-party risks, especially when everything we do becomes web-based and demonstrates higher online dependency.

In a broader perspective, the Coronavirus crisis already presents a massive overload on internet traffic. The signs are clear, with impact on technical support teams, work places are using less secure devices, loosening security controls leading to deeper risk exposure. More people are using online channels as a default, not only for shopping but also as a major channel of interaction. Additionally, there’s more evidence of attempts to insert malicious code, exploit external suppliers and outsourced technologies, generating higher threats and more vulnerabilities.

There is a flow of changes occurring due to the Coronavirus crisis as we speak; to demonstrate, we have picked 3 major shifts:

The Supply-Chain Effect – organizations tend to show higher dependency on outsourced tools to maintain their ongoing operations and preserve their capacity for survival. This could result in higher exposure of sensitive data, breaking security protocols and expanding the potentials for supply-chain attacks.

More Consumer-Oriented Online Services – Online operations aiming at end-customers are relying more on web-based services. Considering the overall growing amounts of “unaware” end-users, we can clearly see more security holes and “easy” opportunities for cybercriminals. This lets us understand why cyber-risk exposure for online business is escalating and why it will keep on growing during the Coronavirus crisis. Ecommerce websites are overloaded by requests, and many of the regular financial processes are now made as online procedures.

The Panic Factors – Massive phishing attempts, many of which emphasize false COVID19 information. These techniques mainly involve social engineering, taking advantage of the panic factors arising from the current crisis.  Eventually, this leads both online consumers and organization to make wrong decisions, leading to severe cybersecurity consequences.