WFH triggers increased e-collaboration, cyber threats, finds study

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on May 27, 2020

There were large-scale attempts to access cloud accounts with stolen credentials   -

As the Covid-19 lockdown has forced companies to allow their staff to work from home, there has been a sharp increase in the use of cloud-based e-collaboration tools. It’s not just employees of IT companies, a bulk of the workforce of firms across verticals have moved home to carry out work.

Cyber security solutions company McAfee has said the use of cloud collaboration tools has gone up by six times from January to April this year.

McAfee says this has a direct bearing on cyber attacks. Citing a survey that it conducted capturing anonymised data, the company said cyber attacks, too, have gone up by six times during the period.

The research study, titled ‘Cloud Adoption and Risk Report – Work-from-Home Edition,’ focussed on the correlation between increased use of cloud services and collaboration tools and increase in cyber attacks targeting the cloud (where all the e-collaboration is taking place.)

The company captured data anonymised data from its over three crore cloud users between January and April.

“These trends emphasise the need for new security delivery models in the distributed work-from-home environment of today — and likely the future,” said Sanjay Manohar, Managing Director of McAfee India.

Spike in usage

The report said there was a 50 per cent increase in the adoption of cloud services. Sectors such as manufacturing and financial services, which used to operate on on-premises applications, chose to allow some of their critical employees to work from home.

“Use of cloud collaboration tools increased by up to 600 per cent, with the education sector seeing the most growth,” he said.

“Threat events from external actors increased by 630 per cent over the same period. Most of these external attacks targeted collaboration services such as Microsoft 365. There were large-scale attempts to access cloud accounts with stolen credentials,” the report said.

McAfee said cloud traffic from unmanaged devices and unsecure networks exposed businesses to massive risk. Organisations need to shift their focus to data in the cloud and cloud-native security services.

Published on May 27, 2020

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