http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/changing-workplaces-user-focused-attacks-increasing/article/571983

Changing workplaces: User-focused attacks increasing Special

Posted May 21, 2020 by Tim Sandle
The fourth part of Digital Journal's conversations with experts about how COVID-19 is changing workplaces together with the security implications considers user-specific attacks.
Untitled
Pascal Pochard-Casabianca, AFP/File
In first article of our 'ask the expert' series, we looked at cybersecurity predictions overall (see: "Security predictions: Where are we heading?"); for the second part we focused on passwords and the biometric alternatives; and the third instalment focused on cloud computing.
For the fourth article in the series, the core subject is attacks centered on the individual. To gain an insight into this area, Digital Journal spoke with LogRhythm, James Carder, Chief Security Officer & Vice President of LogRhythm Labs. Carder also considers security measures around U.S. elections.
Attackers upping the scale with user-focused attacks
According to Carder, this is the time of more sophisticated cyberattacks, with malicious actors focusing on individuals. Carder notes: "Attackers are not using terrifically novel, new tactics during this time. They are however, significantly upping the scale of existing attack vectors (phishing and watering hole types), and attacks are increasingly user-focused. Business operations are more focused on capacity, availability, and maintaining a productive workforce, while security is looked at for exceptions and compensating controls."
There are other factors at play as well, as Carder explains: "Additionally, as some companies were not prepared for the sudden switch to a remote workforce, they might have asked their employees to use their personal devices. Unfortunately, companies cannot monitor or control these devices, leaving the remote technology and subsequently, their company, vulnerable. Attackers will continue to realize the monetary benefits and disruption of user-focused attacks as remote technology becomes imperative for business continuity. Thus, we will an increase of data breaches over the next few months caused by successful phishing attempts and personal devices being infiltrated."
How COVID-19 will impact election security
A second issue beyond the world of work but within the cybersecurity framework, is the forthcoming U.S. presidential election. According Carder, the current situation introduces a new level of risk: "Given the uncertainties with coronavirus, discussions have begun of how Americans will vote for the 2020 presidential election securely and safely. A few months ago, an app was used for the Iowa caucuses. However, the app was rushed out the door before it was ready to be implemented, causing issues for multiple voters being unable to properly use it."
As to how this can be addressed, Carder states: "One of the options being discussed in lieu of in person voting is mail in. If this method is implemented for everyone, we can expect to cause delays and introduce a number of errors. If states move to electronic voting, it could increase efficiency and accuracy, so long as the proper security checks and controls are enforced in the technology. Otherwise, it can expose the presidential election to more catastrophic risk than not. A majority of states won’t be willing to take that risk and because of this, we will see an unprecedented level of human error and delays associated with mail in ballots."