From travel to e-commerce and everything in between, Coronavirus has impacted every industry you can think of. Some in a positive way while others in a negative way. Lockdown has forced businesses to temporarily shut their doors, forcing some businesses to do the same on a permanent basis. People are struggling to pay rent and even put food on the table. In fact, they are taking on a large amount of consumer debt.
More importantly, the number of infections and deaths is not coming down as it should. Countries that have managed to flatten the curve are fearing the emergence of a second wave. The world economy is already under a recession which has converted into a global depression.
In these uncertain times, it is hard to predict the future, but you can predict and anticipate the next move of cyber attackers. When the world is dealing with a recession, online fraud goes up and this recession-induced by COVID-19 is no different.
How can you protect your business from online fraud in such a situation? That is exactly what you will learn after reading this article. In this article, you will learn about ways to safeguard your business from fraud during this pandemic.
A surge in Online Fraud
Just like in the 2008 recession, we saw an exponential increase in the number of online fraud cases during the 2020 pandemic. Irrespective of whether the online fraud incident targets multiple enterprises or individuals or cheap dedicated servers, it is important for businesses to understand that cybercriminals are using both old and new types of fraud.
Two of the most common type of fraud which is prevalent during pandemics are:
- Collusive Fraud
- Bust Out Fraud
In collusive fraud, a group of cybercriminals launches an online fraud to defraud financial institutions and credit card issuers. On the other hand, bust-out frauds are usually carried out by individuals with real or fake identities. Research has proven that these two types of online fraud are growing during this pandemic.
Unfortunately, there are not two types of attacks that are affecting businesses. Phishing attacks and money mule scams are also growing at a rapid pace. Employees working from home are more vulnerable to phishing emails and hackers know that. That is why they launched many phishing scams to target remote workers during this pandemic.
Sadly, most remote workers have either clicked on the malicious links or downloaded a malicious file due to a lack of awareness. This allows hackers to inject malware into your system and steal sensitive financial and personal information.
Money mule scams are also prevalent as they feed on economic uncertainty. They will lure you with “cash prizes” or “earn $100,000 from your home!” Stay away from getting rich quick schemes as they are usually money mule scams. Their core purpose is to hook you in and benefit from you instead of helping you.
How to Protect Your Business from Online Fraud?
To protect your business from online fraud, cybersecurity professionals should first understand the threat landscape. They will have to increase monitoring and invest in an employee education program. When it comes to social engineering attacks such as phishing and spear phishing, you can prevent these types of attacks mostly by increasing awareness.
- C-Suite Executives
- Business Partners
Whether it is your new hire, existing staff, remote workers, or temporary employees, all can pose a significant risk to your organization. That is why it is important for businesses to educate their employees about cybersecurity. Increase their cybersecurity awareness so they can identify phishing scams and do not fall victim to these scams.
This can be an asset, especially during this pandemic when you are more likely to be bombarded with phishing emails linked to coronavirus. The more aware your employees are about social engineering attacks, the harder it will be for hackers to trick them with these online frauds. Test the cybersecurity knowledge of your employees by launching mock phishing attacks and see which employees can identify it and which ones do not.
Most cybersecurity professionals advise businesses to adopt a hacker mentality and think like a hacker. If you do that, you can clearly see how valuable a C-suite executive can be. They not only have access to the CEO but also to employees. The growing number of deep fakes and voice fraud has put C-suite executives in the firing line. Businesses should understand the number of damage cybercriminals can do to their business if they manage to compromise one of the top-level executives. They should invest in training their C-suite executives to follow cybersecurity best practices.
Most companies do not even consider business partners, vendors, and suppliers as a potential cybersecurity threat and it leads to their downfall. According to McAfee research, most companies have become a target of data breaches due to vendors. Companies that give resellers access to their systems are more vulnerable as these resellers might conduct business on your behalf.
By implementing strict vigilance on employees and educating employees as well as business partners and C-Suite executives, you can minimize the risk of social engineering attacks and online fraud. Learn from your past mistakes and lessons from other companies’ missteps to improve your defenses against online fraud. The key to success in today’s remote environment is to ensure the visibility and security of remote workers.
Since most hardware is existing company premises, it is important for businesses to implement the same level of security controls on endpoints and clients as the external devices. While sharing his experience, Brian Wilson, CISO at SAS said, “All of the client systems we managed – be they desktop or laptop – must have the same security controls. If an employee takes a desktop home, you need the ability to protect and manage it as if it were still in the office.”
What steps do you take for fraud detection and prevention? Share it with us in the comments section below.