Aug 11, 2020

Verizon: the impact of COVID-19 on data breaches

data breaches
Georgia Wilson
3 min
Cybersecurity, blue digital padlocks with one red broken padlock
Business Chief North America gains insight from Verizon on the impact COVID-19 has had on data breaches...

Since the launch of Verizon’s Business 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report, the telecommunication company has seen the COVID-19 pandemic deliver further security challenges to business around the world. 

“We have seen organizations quickly move their workforces en-mass to remote working; e-commerce has increased, with many industries - and especially retail and food services now relying more heavily on their online presence and cloud-based workflows; and health providers have also moved to online service delivery, to name just a few industries the pandemic has impacted,” commented Verizon.

However, while organisations have made rapid changes in response to the outbreak, Verizon believes that “Unfortunately, in these times of rapid change and confusion, cybercriminals have been watching and looking to capitalise on any opportunity for financial gain. In order to shed light on the increasing number of threat actors worrying cyber security specialists, our renowned DBIR team has generated a three-month analysis - entitled “Analyzing the COVID-19 data breach landscape” - which brings these threats under the spotlight.”

Within the analysis report the study focuses on 36 confirmed data breaches which have been identified as a direct relation to COVID-19. In addition the study reviews 474 data breach incidents from March to June 2020. Verizon combines this data with their collective years of experience to determine cyber trends that have impacted businesses.

The trends

Prior to COVID-19, Verizon explains that cybercriminals were successfully using tried and tested methods to obtain data. It goes without saying that if these tactics worked in a stable business environment, they have been working even better in an era of unprecedented disruption. Criminals are ultimately lazy in their approaches and, faced with a larger attack surface than usual during the pandemic, there has been no need to invent new attack strategies to achieve their goals.”

Based on its research, Verizon has seen the use of four common factors: 

  1. Increase in error: “human error is often seen as a major cause of security incidents - in fact we reported that nearly a quarter of the breaches analysed in our 2020 DBIR were due to this.” 
  2. Increase in stolen credential hacking: Verizon’s 2020 DBIR noted that more than 80% of breaches were caused by stolen or brute-forced credentials. “This has now been exacerbated by the large number of employees working from home requiring ongoing remote access and workstation maintenance.”
  3. Increased use of ransomware: “we saw that several incidents reviewed within the COVID-19 dataset involved the use of ransomware. These involved the copying and posting of data (either partially or entirely) publicly online,”
  4. Phishing emails play on emotions: “phishing has always been a popular cybercrime tactic,” commented Verizon. “Prior to COVID-19 we flagged that credential theft and social attacks such as phishing and business email compromises were at the root of the majority of breaches (over 67&). Combine this attack success with uncertainty, fear and the need for COVID-19 information, then you will understand why phishing emails containing the words "COVID" or "CORONAVIRUS, “masks”, "test”, "quarantine" and "vaccine” were found to be widely used within this time period.”

With these threats in mind, the telecommunications company explains that by gaining insight into the evolving tactics harnessed by cybercriminals and developing comprehensive strategies during this period, organisations will be able to set a more productive course of action to create a secure business environment.

For more information on business topics in the United States and Canada, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief North America.

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Image source: Verizon

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Jun 18, 2021

Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking

3 min
Intelliwave Technologies outlines how it provides data and visibility benefits for APTIM

“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.

We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time  spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.

Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate. 

With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.

There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.

Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture. 

It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.

Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.

On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.

As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.

A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.


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