Covid-19 brought increased online activity from lockdowns and the work from home digital transformation of many businesses. Sadly, these changes come with a downside. Local tech experts say cybersecurity threats are increasing, something borne out by a Digicel business survey.

Hackers are preying on people’s fears and uncertainty, targeting vulnerabilities caused by the pandemic. The thirst for new information on the novel coronavirus prompts many people to carelessly click on links and pop ups. This gives criminals an opportunity to take them to sites that are often not safe or legitimate. Those working from home have been the target of phishing emails, designed to trick people into clicking on links or giving out important information. This is compromising many businesses, particularly banking, but government sites also, according to the Digicel survey.

A recent webinar organised by MC Systems, the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association, and The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica noted that malware attacks had increased globally since the pandemic.

The survey and the webinar offered advice for businesses to stay protected. They note that the cost of investing in security measures is much less than the damage from a cyber-attack on a company. Businesses are advised to first recognize that cyberterrorism is a serious online threat that is growing and that they can be targeted. Businesses are advised to conduct cybersecurity training for staff and implementing two factor authentication to access corporate systems for those working from home. That is where the system sends a code to the company alerting them someone is trying to gain access and asking that person to verify their authenticity. Companies are advised to back up their data in the event of a ransomware hit that could block their access.