The Institute of Internal Auditors Qatar Chapter recently conducted a virtual training for internal auditors on typical cybercrimes during the current pandemic, its trends, indicators, conclusions, and recommendations based on first-cut analysis of data.
Cybercrimes have been happening for decades, and they have shown some patterns in terms of attack vectors; verticals for penetration; demographic variables and their influence on types of crimes, the institute said.
Trainer Dr K Rama Subramaniam is CEO of Valiant Technologies operating from India, the Middle East, and Mauritius
The Covid-19 themed attacks and total encounters data indicate a definite trend of massive surge from March to June 2020 in both unique and total encounters
The trainer, Dr K Rama Subramaniam, is CEO of Valiant Technologies operating from India, the Middle East, and Mauritius. He is former chairman of Centre of Excellence in Digital Forensics and current global chair at International Institute of Certified Forensic Investigation Professionals in the US.
He served as India’s country representative at the International Federation for Information Processing. Subramaniam has a doctorate in the area of cyber-criminology, a master’s degree in Technology Management, and holds FCA, CISA, CISM, CDPSE, CISSP, and DFIP credentials and honorary fellowships – FISC and FCFIP.
“The pandemic has impacted every walk of life. Cybercrimes are no exception. This pandemic brings out the best but unfortunately also the worst in humanity. There was this brief shining moment when we hoped that cybercriminals would think that taking advantage of this pandemic for personal profit might be beyond the pale. Sadly, that has not been the case,” Subramaniam said.
The Covid-19 themed attacks and total encounters data indicate a definite trend of massive surge from March to June 2020 in both unique and total encounters. Crime taxonomy during the pandemic in cybercrimes, child exploitation and disinformation campaigns were elaborated.
Phishing attacks, Trojans for stealing information, Ransomware, Teleworkers vulnerability and Pharma Scams was identified as cyber-driven crimes that showed significant jumps. Ransomware is both high in numbers and impact during the pandemic with work-from-home causing loss of sensitive information.
“Zoom bombing and multiple fault lines, among others result in home environ compromises where convenience versus security vulnerability of teleworkers should be addressed,” Subramaniam stated.
To make one’s home a “cyber safe stronghold,” he recommended frequent change of Wi-Fi default router password, review apps’ permission and delete those that don’t use, secure devices with pin or biometric, install antivirus on all connected devices, and use strong password for social media, among other recommendations.
The pharma scams included Covid-19 cure, charity advice, vaccine information, Covid-19 Pharma websites of 70,000 of which 18,000 are found fake, he said. There is data on increasing downloads of about 254% during the pandemic, which is a concern for exposure, particularly for children. The disinformation campaign is another area of concern with origins across the globe with varying motivation, such as mischief, fun, sadism, and so on, he said.
“The ubiquity of reach by cybercriminals and their varying methods need adequate understanding for ensuring safeguard. The stakeholders need to bring about a concerted effort at limiting the spread of cybercrimes during the trying and testing times of a pandemic. Dr Rama’s presentation and Q&A provided succinct but requisite knowledge in the subject having extensive scope,” said Sundaresan Rajeswar, the IIA Qatar Board member who co-ordinated the event with Girish Jain, Muralikrishna, and Murtaza.
Fahad al-Marri, IIA vice president, said: “We are one of the chapters that focused on member learning as a priority so that they are equipped to deliver proactive, value-added service to their organisations. During this pandemic, IIA Qatar Chapter so far conducted seven knowledge sharing sessions sourcing experts globally and more sessions are lined up with global president, past chairman, and incumbent global chair of the IIA.”