On 1st June, South Africa was downgraded to lockdown alert level 3. As part of the regulations for this level, some businesses were allowed to bring its employees back to the office, should they be willing to take the risk. As more employees head back, the increased threat of cyberattacks during lockdown remains, alongside COVID-19.

When lockdown started South Africa in particular saw a surge in the number of attacks targeting those working remotely or from home, and the latest research from Check Point says those heading back to the office won’t allay any fears in terms of cyberattacks for the foreseeable future.

The cybersecurity firm’s latest survey asked IT professionals to list some their concerns as employees made their way back to office, as well as the concerns that existed prior to and during lockdown.

Added to this was an outlook for the next 12 months, with 75 percent of respondents noting that an increase in cyberattacks was a key concern. Phishing and social engineering exploits in particular were highlighted as areas that needed to be catered for.

Those still working remotely during this time and in the months to come also present a concern, with 51 percent of respondents finding that unmanaged home endpoints raised more than a few eyebrows. Mobile devices followed this too, with 33 percent of respondents citing it as a concern.

As for the security elements that organisations will be prioritising moving forward, 79 percent of respondents said the main focus is tightening security and preventing attacks as employees continue to work flexibly from home.

On top of this, 43 percent stated they plan to implement mobile security solutions, and 39 percent plan to consolidate their security estates to help eliminate “blind spots” across their enlarged network perimeters.

“Organizations had to restructure their network and security fabrics almost overnight to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, and doing this inevitably meant that security gaps opened up, increasing their attack surface and creating new opportunities for criminals,” highlights Rafi Kretchmer, VP of product marketing at Check Point.

With more than 86 percent of respondents stating that their biggest IT challenge during the pandemic was moving to mass remote working environment, it looks as if the new normal will continue to present issues for those working on security for their respective firms.

“Now that we are moving towards a ‘new normal’ way of working as lockdowns lift globally, organizations need to close off those security gaps and secure their networks, from employees’ home PCs and mobiles to the enterprise data center, with a holistic, end-to-end security architecture,” adds Kretchmar. 

“The Covid-19 pandemic may be fading, but the cyber-crime pandemic it triggered is here to stay,” he concludes. 

[Image – Photo by Tyler Franta on Unsplash]