Information Security in times of COVID-19

Covid-19 has indeed turned the entire world upside down. This has created several challenges which have brought the world under the knees. We are all getting accustomed to this ‘new normal’. But what exactly is this ‘new normal’? Well to start let me first speak of the trends that have changed during COVID and to which people from all walks of life have embraced this wholeheartedly. These are increased hygiene consciousness, the spike in Work from Home (WFH) in IT companies, parents juggling here and there between cooking, parenting, and managing their WFH jobs, and the Virtual learning classes which are being organized not only by schools but also by several undergraduate and postgraduate universities. According to telecom ministry data, India’s internet consumption has surged by 13% since the nationwide lockdown was put in place to check the spread of Covid-19. It also showed that the consumption was approximately 308 petabytes (PB) or 308,000 terabytes (TB) of data daily on an average for the week beginning March 22. Thus, this reflected how people have started spending more time with the internet for their work from home jobs and students logging and registering in various E-Learning platforms.


While on one hand many of us may be getting used to this new normal trend, on the other side the COVID pandemic has exposed many cybersecurity threats. Since most of the offices are dealing with this home office due to the global pandemic for the first time, some measures are every day being introduced at the company and federal level. The enterprise virtual private network (VPN) servers have now become a lifesaver to companies and schools. Not only organizations but also all individuals should follow and adhere to the CIA triad of Information Security. This security triad strictly speaks of the Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability of data. To brief, Confidentiality aims at preventing the intended or the unintended disclosure to unauthorized users, Integrity focuses on the correctness and accuracy of data and Availability points at the data being available promptly to all the intended users. Thus, in this extraordinary situation there is a need to strategize and holistically prevent the influx of these cyber-criminals who are just waiting not only to expose the sensitive and confidential data but also inadvertently risking the organizations by initiating various Denial of Service (Dos) attacks, phishing, impersonating brands, infecting the personal computers and phones and individuals being tricked into downloading ransomware disguised as approved and authenticated websites and applications.

Thus, keeping in mind, the threats that are being posed by these cyber-criminals to not only home offices but also to every individual there is a need to ensure the protection of the networks. This can be done by adopting a myriad of ways, the most important ones being- the adoption of 2-factor authentication security where-ever possible be it work emails, personal emails, and social media accounts, storing data on a highly reliable platform that guarantees data protection and use of secure communication channel and self-guided learning to employees which emphasizes the risks to security. As a matter of principle, in these unprecedented times, there is an urgent need to monitor this central instrument of infrastructure so that the security measures are adhered to in every aspect.

                                 -Indira Roy (MBA-ITBM 2020-2022)

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