U.S. Chamber of Commerce and FICO Release Special Report on Cybersecure Remote Working During COVID-19

Thursday, October 1, 2020 - 8:00am

Report provides expert insights and recommendations that every business should follow to prevent cyberattacks  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and FICO today released their Special Report on Cybersecure Remote Working During COVID-19. The report focuses on the cybersecurity challenges of working from home during the current COVID-19 pandemic and provides recommendations that every company can use to enhance their cybersecurity. In March 2020, many businesses were forced to adjust almost overnight and operate virtually. As outlined in the report, cybercriminals began to refine their tactics and take advantage of new opportunities to attack companies and organizations as the pandemic spread globally. 

“While some patterns of cybercriminals are hard to predict, there is one constant: malicious actors will always try to exploit cyber vulnerabilities. This becomes easier for them in times of change, disruption and uncertainty, which we have been experiencing since the beginning of the year,” said Christopher D. Roberti, senior vice president for cyber, intelligence, and supply chain security policy at the U.S. Chamber. “Americans have enough to worry about with economic uncertainty, health concerns, job losses, and so forth, and we want to ensure business owners have the right tools to increase the security of their virtual working environments. This Special Report provides recommendations and expert opinions that will help that process.” 

Instances of social engineering, spam emails, malware, malicious URLs, and other threats are on the rise, with more people working from home on unsecured networks or being targeted by COVID-related cyber threats. According to Trend Micro, there was a surge of nearly 9 million COVID-19 related threats from January to June 2020; around 91.5 percent of those threats used email as their entry point. Relatedly, average ransomware demands from threat actors increased by $500K since last year to an average of $1.3 million in 2020. 

The shift to remote work has caused a corresponding shift away from centralized, corporate networks to increasingly distributed home networks that then connect with an organization’s enterprise network. Given these challenges, the fundamentals of good cybersecurity become even more vital. The Special Report includes insights from industry experts on how businesses and their employees can follow a set of recommendations to strengthen their defenses against cyber intrusions and protect their data. 

“With the move from a centralized workplace to a distributed one across a variety of home offices, COVID-19 brought new network security challenges to global IT teams,” said Doug Clare, vice president, fraud, compliance and security solutions at FICO. “As workforces around the world continue to operate remotely with data being exchanged digitally whether by virtual meetings or e-commerce, cybersecurity needs to remain top-of-mind for organizations. Our hope is that this report will help guide enterprise security teams in strengthening their networks and finding new and innovative ways to protect employees and corporate data.”  

Working from home, virtual meetings, and digital commerce are becoming our new normal, and businesses have been forced to adapt. To help enterprises better secure their virtual working environments, the U.S. Chamber has compiled six important recommendations that every business can use: 

  1. Consider the benefits of using cloud services 
  2. Instruct employees on the proper components of a home office network 
  3. Use a properly configured virtual private network (VPN) 
  4. Take steps to introduce elements of security to teleconferencing 
  5. Have a plan to identify and manage third-party and supply-chain risk 
  6. Think through—and adhere to—sound Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and procedures 

More information on the recommendations businesses should follow and insight from industry experts can be found here in the report.