With remote working on the rise, especially with the news about the pandemic resurgence, both the authorities and citizens are concerned about future risks for their cybersecurity. Attacks on individuals in recent months became multifaceted, with many coming as a result of corporate negligence, or probably even more sinister factors.

Thankfully, by knowing what we are protecting from this time around, there are solutions both institutions and individuals can employ to protect their private data. By combining software and best practices, we can improve our stay on the internet and make it a better place for everyone.

But, there are issues, and it seems like government intervention might not be the best way to go. While short-term improvements made by several local legislators were noticed, they seem to be detrimental long term, especially damaging protected categories that they are made to protect, such as women, children, first nation peoples, and minorities.

Old Sinister Factors

Risks facing those spending and increased amount of time online are the same as before, with only slightly more fines shown by malicious entities discovered.

Primarily, there are ill-intentioned persons online that are aiming to either wreak havoc or steal private information and banking credentials. Both can be quite devastating for anyone.

Aside from individual hackers, there are also whole groups that operate from multiple sides to steal both business and personal information. These groups often work hand in hand with digital pickpockets and similar criminals to collect anything valuable they can.

Finally, there are companies that are using this crisis to expand, knowing that demand is on the rise. In this case, the cause for concern shouldn’t be some scheme that is consciously placed into action, but rather lack of oversight and valid security protocols.

Is New Tech Bringing More Problems or Solutions?

As far as numbers alone are suggesting, new technologies will make it easier for us to protect our privacy and personal information. Companies providing VPN access and password protection are becoming more abundant and accessible, allowing everyone to protect their devices.

But, this also brings people into a false sense of security, as there is a prevailing idea that cybersecurity is something done exclusively by software and not by every person for themselves. This causes a decrease in cyber hygiene, enabling a rise in online crime.

Corporate Data Theft

It is often impossible to distinguish bad practices from some companies from direct criminal behavior.

Even after a class-action lawsuit in the United States has been brought up against the conference app Zoom, almost 30 million accounts from job seekers in India have been leaked to third parties by the company.

Similar issues have been found with other software and applications, mainly when it comes to social media platforms such as Facebook.

In the example of Betsafe Canada, it has been proven that only strict regulations can force companies to follow the rules and make their data secure. Ironically, this made gambling websites have some of the best cybersecurity systems in the country.

Increased Government Surveillance

While a few western countries are following the example of China and establishing a full-on surveillance society, the tendencies of some administrations in a crisis are a cause for concern.

And, these actions are disproportionality affecting vulnerable categories of our society. Those with less access to information and proper protections from both physical and online violence are more likely to lash out and place complaints on social media. This in turn activates a legal response, further affecting these groups and lowering their access to democratic institutions.

Hacker’s Unions

The same occurrences that forced regular people to work from home and communicated predominantly online have also pushed the criminal elements of our society to do the same.

While there is no honor amongst thieves, there is cooperation. Pickpockets, hackers, and data brokers are communicating online and forming virtual unions to help each other’s ‘businesses’.

This opened a whole new issue with scams and hacks becoming more detailed and adaptable, and social media snake oil sales people getting the virtual background they need. While it is more than probable that the authorities will eventually break these rings and bring the perpetrators to justice, this will take some time.

Individual Criminals

Finally, there are always individuals that will try to make their money on the misfortune of others. This was seen during the pandemic when some frankly despicable individuals were trying to buy hand sanitizer and similar products and re-sell them at a margin.

In a similar way, online scammers and tricksters are trying to use either the fear from the pandemic or the seclusion of individuals to confuse and rob their unsuspecting victims. And, the only way not to fall into this trap is to stay calm and practice critical thinking.

Investing in our cybersecurity will pay back dividends, if not monetarily for some, then in peace of mind.