Social Engineering One of the Biggest Threats for Businesses Amidst Covid19: Rishi Rajpal, Concentrix

As businesses make changes to their core infrastructure to accommodate Work From Home (WFH) amidst Covid19, bad actors never had it easier. Since it is no longer confidential information that most of the organizations’ employee base has shifted to the home, cyber criminals are already in a hyper drive to exploit the opportunity with targeted attacks around Covid19 campaigns through phishing, vishing, etc.

So, while on one hand businesses have to keep the lights on from a business perspective, on the other they need to make sure that we are highly vigilant with the threat actors attacking from all sides.

According to Rishi Rajpal, Vice President Global Security, Concentrix, the threat level will continue to rise with the attack surface expanding rapidly. “One of the biggest threats I see for businesses today is around social engineering as the human vulnerability is at its peak right now. Human weakness can be most easily exploited at this time through social engineering to steal credentials like user ID, password, two factor authentication, etc. And, because the employees are working from home, they are all the more easily accessible to the threat actors because you can apply all the controls in the world when people are coming to office but it may not be the same when they are working from home,” explains Rajpal.

Here’s how Rajpal is fighting the expanding threat vectors.

Employee awareness at the core:

Rajpal has taken the company’s employee awareness program to the next level. “We are continuously putting messages across to the employees that their work place location may have changed but their responsibilities remain the same. That is really the key,” he adds.

To begin with, awareness campaigns have been created and disseminated though wallpapers, videos, emails, splashes, etc. Business has been informed to talk about security in team huddles. Team leaders have been asked to emphasize on security in their team calls and create awareness among their teams around how the bad actors are using innovative means to get to their credentials.

Revamping and continuously re-visiting social media policies:

As employees WFH, there is a tendency to get excited and start posting their pictures on social media of their workspace and showcase how they are working and being productive. Rajpal adds that one may not realize what kind of sensitive customer they are serving and how they may be exposing themselves and the customer data to a serious security breach. Especially for a ITeS company with water-tight client NDAs this is a matter of grave concern.

Therefore, a line has to be drawn around what goes out. This required quickly revamping the social media guidelines aligned to the new circumstances and running them through business to make sure that these are adhered to. The social media guidelines are being continuously re-visited and re-evaluated to keep up with the fast changing scenario.

Monitoring & More Monitoring:

One phase is over and companies have already sent their employees home and WFH may become the new norm in near future, According to Rajpal, the next phase is now critical and will really define the success, and that is establishing the right monitoring process and governance around that. He is now working towards ensuring stringent monitoring mechanisms are in place and the processes and drills clearly defined to mitigate the risks. For instance, if a machine gets infected what will be process to isolate that machine. While that is on the internal side, on the external side the strategy is around continuous and enhanced monitoring of alerts and cyber threats, which are external but relevant to the company to build high resilience.

The company’s Security Operations Centre (SOC) is at the forefront of monitoring and fighting the growing threats. The SOC team, which is part of the essential services for the company, is fully operational from their respective homes. The company had done a full BCP and DR testing of the SOC, getting the SOC team to work from home when the signals had started coming in from China in December itself to test the model. This judicious and pre-emptive planning came in really handy and helped in ensuring that the SOC team was ready to roll on and the model of WFH for the SOC was successfully tried and tested when the lockdown in India was eventually announced.


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