As people work from home, cases of cyber attacks rise

(This story originally appeared in on Apr 10, 2020)A senior corporate executive was on a video conference call with his top management using the popular Zoom app while working from home due to the coronavirus lockdown. Minutes after the meeting started, the screen was hacked, and pornographic content started playing across the screens of those who were on the call, prompting them to abruptly terminate the call.

Similarly, as PM Narendra Modi sought donations under the PM-CARES fund, more than a dozen similar-sounding UPI IDs cropped up, luring people to donate there. The fake IDs included [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] The issue was sorted out, but not before the intervention of the home ministry, CERT-in - the country’s security watchdog, and private experts.


Home networks very vulnerable to cyber attacks
This is not all. Messages and websites are coming up by the dozens, promising to inform people about those suffering from coronavirus 'near your location', or providing 'Covid-19 heatmaps'. Also, many are promising to help one avail unemployment funds. Sent from seemingly authorised sources, most of these fakes end up hacking, and even taking control of, smartphones and laptops that download them, leading to cyberattacks.

As people work from home during the lockdown, cases of cyberattacks, hacking and even ransomware have been on the rise, posing a serious challenge to the new economic realities where digital networks are increasingly fuelling GDP, businesses, government machinery, and even school & college classes. Against the relatively secured networks at offices and workplaces, home networks are highly vulnerable, especially when many teammates are logging in through their personal devices under “bring your own device (BYOD)” practices.

“With most of the companies not having systems and protocols to work remotely, hackers and malware makers are having a field day,” says Gowree Gokhale, a partner at law firm Nishith Desai Associates, which has been advising firms on how to work securely.