COVID-19 Pandemic: Feeling Cyber-Stressed? Get a Cyber-Therapy

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With India ranking 3rd in terms of cyber-attacks, COVID becomes clickbait for cybercrimes. The pandemic has emphasized health, hygiene, and staying at home to be the best prevention. But are you safe at home? Are we maintaining requisite Cyber Hygiene? How cyber immune are you to Denial of Service attacks or malware?

With remote working patterns in the pandemic, cybersecurity concerns have increased. Chennai has recently witnessed a spike in cyberattacks. A report by K7 security reveals e-commerce frauds to be more common. Data theft, phishing, and hacking were the most common attacks during the lockdown.

With Government notifying alert mechanisms, netizens should pay heed to the same. CERT-in had recently launched an advisory against fake COVID 19 testing phishing e-mails. At times, e-mails impersonate local authorities to coax their targets. 

Cyber Liability Insurance has two forms- corporate level and individual level. However, premium surges have plundered corporates, where today having the same is essential. In a balkanized digital ecosystem, do these insurance coverages have something to deliver?

The Cyberian Landscape in COVID

COVID has changed the economic dimensions of our nation, it’s been 4 months since the WFH and BYOD came in. WHO and US Defence have fallen prey to malicious attacks. Businesses and individuals are very easy to coax. With India-China tension, the Tik-Tok ban move attracted over 40,000 Chinese cyberattacks. This malware and hackers first get to know the victim’s system. Then they wait for the vulnerability and rob them of their data. 

Many businesses will give WFH forever to employees. TCS will ask 75% of its employees to WFH post-pandemic running up to 2025. Even Twitter and Facebook will also adopt the WFH Forever Scheme. Considering this, cybersecurity threats will burgeon, but no other routes exist. Businesses and individuals now must develop their Cyber Immunity. IBM has come up with a 5 CyberTech Trends for India. They introduced these after realizing the Cyber Threat Potentiality in the nation.

With WFH and BYOD being the new normal, the cyberian landscape will witness a key change. 

Legal Firewalls to Combat Cyber Threats

The IT Act lists down most of the cyber-attacks. Hacking, data theft, DDOS, or virus attacks could get prosecuted under Section 66 r/w Section 46 of the Act. Banking frauds also find legal rescue under the IPC (Sections 463 to 471). These are the legal firewalls that are available. Yet, the opacity and misuse of these laws have been on a rampant scale. 

The national incident response Centre, CERT has been set up for enforcement. Yet, what good is a security guard when given the role of an Army General? What India is currently facing is a Cybersecurity vacuum. Lack of a Cyber Security law has deepened concerns in India. Though in 2013, the Department of Electronics and Communication had come up with a policy. However, a robust legal firewall with appropriate enforcement mechanisms must exist. Especially in wake of the Cyberian landscape widening.

Mr Pant, India’s National Cyber Security Co-ordinator, has stated: apps in India have not gone through security testing. 

What havoc can this create when lockdown has beheld a stark rise in e-commerce?

After COVID Treatment, India Urging for a Cyber-Therapy?

Cyber Liability Insurance in India covers first-party expenses. It covers third-party liabilities, business interruption, and Cyber Theft. Cyber Insurance protects them against risks of data destruction and other related costs. Third-party claims due to DDOS and penalties for flouting regulations are also covered. For individuals, coverage is also provided for identity theft, phishing, and social engineering.

ICICI Lombard has recently introduced Retail Cyber Liability Insurance. The distinctiveness of this policy lies in reputational loss coverage. It also covers reputational loss due to data thefts. This means the costs of restoration of data will get indemnified. Individual lost wages will also get covered. The WFH model in the pandemic might lead to severe loss in wages due to work cuts from malware. The lost wages will get covered, enabling better coverage for an individual. The sum insured ranges from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1 Cr. 

It is not mandatory to report cybercrimes in India, where public awareness is also meagre. Even companies fear reputational speck for lack of cybersecurity. They refrain from complaining. Cyber Insurance policies are still in that nascent stage. In Europe, mandatory cyber reporting makes legal firewalls too stringent to get broken.

International Cyber Environs

Other countries also lack cyber immunity from this malware, DDOS, and phishing scams. ‘Corona Anti-Virus’ Software in Italy tricked people by claiming to cure COVID. When installed, this software infects the users of malware. Spanish hospital workers were also duped by a ‘netwalker’ system. This later proved to be a ransomware attack. Malicious sites had also impersonated WHO’s internal system.

Cyber resilience can get improved by automated tools and applications into data. Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan has helped enterprises, said IBM. Especially to cope up with such cyberattacks. Cyber polygon exercises will also train employees in enterprises. With cyber hygiene maintenance, enterprises and individuals can get apprised of all malware.

Way Forward: What Might Happen Next?

Automation tools for protection against malware is a viable solution. The new Cyber Security Strategy of 2020 has also got approved. This will place CERT in the ‘can-do’ mode in cybersecurity. Data breach mechanisms via the Data protection law and IT Act can be better channelized. Cyber audits can also help enterprises combat COVID cyber-attacks. The Health sector is a critical infrastructure. Hence, a legal vacuum for dealing with malware attacks on hospitals makes it frazzled. Better awareness and premium reduction in Cyber Insurance will relieve cyber stressing. 


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