The outbreak of corona virus, and the spread of the virus simultaneously over 190 countries of the globe, got the global enterprise community to a common arena. The management of digital infrastructure and the allied services has been the saving grace in all aspects like Business Continuity as also the Systems to combat the pandemic. But at the same time, Cyber-criminals, nation states and other state and non-state actors are exploiting the available crisis for their Machiavellian gains, to make the best of the opportunity.
The use of Phishing, Spoofing and APT has been the common cyber attack means. Taking advantage of the sentiments that is attached with this outbreak, the cyber criminals have been able to make that extra buck. More so in a scenario where the LEAs are engaged in other important jobs in the line of combating the pandemic, has also provided the added advantage to the perpetrators to perform the crime. It is needless to say that many of the crimes have also been directed in the e-commerce ecosystem, as the criminals are aware that digital payment and home delivery was the only form of transaction during the period of lockdown.
It is also obvious that Individuals and Enterprises have been more vulnerable, as the workforce and individuals have been working from home through digital means, as also from lesser secure environment. Hence, they all have been exploited by the criminals by taking advantage of the vulnerabilities due to the fundamental changes in our personal and professional lives. This then directly put the load on Cyber Security Experts or Professions, who were otherwise responsible for Cyber Security at the enterprise. The Cyber Security Experts can still not absolve themselves from providing the secure environment and are in the front line of the responses to COVID-19 and need to address both the immediate issues and prepare for longer term opportunities and challenges.
The Action Envisaged
Firstly, there are added challenges, to the Cyber Security Professionals to augment the Security Means in the present ambit of things. On restoration of normalcy, the challenge is to amplify the Security aspects for this form of Business Continuity. One of the first steps Cyber Security Evangelists need to take is to provide or refresh cyber-security training which focuses on phishing identification and response as well as secure remote working practices. Employees may be now required to be provided access to credible information sources through the organisation’s intranet page and provided with regular updates on malicious actors’ methods, and other related aspects.
It has also been observed that Work from Home Assignments were restricted due to security concerns. Cyber Security Professional need to now advise CISOs and CEOs of the nature of work and the pattern of work capacity to support their entire workforce working from home. This is then related to advisory on the type of infrastructure investment and also equipping of the employees using their own devices, both of which can lead to increased security risks to organisations if not managed well. The Cyber Security Evangelists also need to assess and improve the security configurations of remote working solutions including VPNs, cloud working solutions and endpoints. This should be underpinned by a review of information sharing and information protection capabilities, including data loss prevention and security controls.
The revision of the BCP document as also the ISMS Manual is also a factor that will need to be looked into by Security Advisors to the CEOs and CISOs. The ‘used case’ scenarios that are a fall out of the recently encountered lockdown era will be the starting point for such review. While the need is also to provide solutions in place as also to relax certain security standards; any security waivers granted during the ‘lockdown’/’work from home’ should be reviewed as soon as possible after the initial crisis response and risks carefully recorded.
Cyber Security; entails People, Process and Technology. Hence the ramification of the Security Review and the subsequent change need to be enforced on People, Processes and also the Technology. It is but obvious that there may be a list of equipments that may be suggested by the Cyber Security Experts will add cost of ownership. But again, this is to be well received by the CEO and the CISO.
In the used case of working remotely, the aspect of Incident Response is again very critical. Cyber Security Professionals should make it possible for reporting of incident even in the adverse of scenario, while even working from home. CISOs should accept zero-error syndrome culture and respond to such needs of the employees.
The Cyber Security Evangelists at their enterprises and those providing Independent consultancy, have a major task at hand. They need to create greater awareness of their role across the organisation and make integration with other departments easier. The need of the hour is a Digital Transformation. Or for that matter a Cyber Security Transformation. The new need of integration of new security in the remote or work from home scenario is also required to be contemplated and implemented. The concept of Security-By-Design is also the need of the hour.
Last but not the least, is the factor of trust that seem to have been not understood by many enterprises when the operations were remote and was off-site. The trust factor was mutual, and any changes to this factor also should be enforced through cyber means and the same is not possible otherwise.
Cyber Security Professional are the backbone to the organisation. The Cyber Security Professionals, need to be have a direct channel of communication to the CEO and the CISO. This is then a good means of ‘Top-Down’ implementation of Security measures and also for faster and rapid responsive methodology.