HP Study: Cyberattacks Rose 238% During Pandemic

Also, more than three out of four workers surveyed said the lines between work and their personal lives have blurred, a new HP cybersecurity study says.

HP Study: Cyberattacks Rose 238% During Pandemic

The HP Blurred Lines & Blindspots cybersecurity survey has just been released. The study surveyed nearly 8,500 office workers and 1,100 IT professionals. HP says the results of the study reflect a shifting workforce and the vulnerabilities that companies and workers now face in dealing with cybersecurity attacks.

“As the lines between work and home have blurred, security risks have soared and everyday actions such as opening an attachment can have serious consequences,” comments Joanna Burkey, chief information security officer (CISO), HP Inc.

“Without all of the pre-pandemic sources of visibility of devices, and how they are being used and by who, IT and security teams are working with clouded vision.”

Among the findings in the HP Blurred Lines & Blindspots study include 70% of office workers admitting to using their work devices for personal activities, and 69% admitting to using their personal devices for work activities.

Arguably the most alarming development in the study is that global cyberattacks have risen 238% during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the study’s other results include:

  • More than three quarters (76%) of the workers surveyed said the lines between work and their personal lives have blurred.
  • Just over a quarter of those polled (27%) indicated they know they are not supposed to share work devices, but felt they “had no choice.” However, 85% of IT decision makers (ITDMs) worry this type of behavior increases their company’s risk of a security breach.
  • Half of office workers see their work devices as a personal device, while 84% of ITDMs worry this behavior increases their company’s risk of a security breach.
  • Over the past year, well over half (54%) of ITDMs saw a rise in phishing attacks, and 56% saw an increase in web browser related device infections.
  • HP says that 44% of IT professionals saw compromised devices being used to infect large businesses, and 45% saw an increase in infected printers being used as attack points.

Additionally, the HP Blurred Lines & Blindspots study reports 71% of employees surveyed said they access more company data, more frequently, from home now than they did prior to the pandemic. The most common types of data accessed from home includes customer and operational data (43% each) and financial and HR records (23% each).

“More than half [51%] of ITDMs have seen evidence in their company of compromised personal PCs being used to access company and customer data in the past year, says Ian Pratt, global head of security, personal systems, HP Inc.

“This is a huge risk that could lead to exposed company data, reputational damage, non-compliance and loss of customer trust.”

HP adds that 82% of the office workers surveyed for the HP report said they had worked from home more since the start of the pandemic than prior to COVID-19, while 39% expect to predominately work from home post-pandemic or split their time between home and the office.

Summarizing its conclusions from the Blurred Lines & Blindspots report, HP emphasizes that work-from-home employees (WFH) are not protected by their employers’ corporate firewalls. As a result, 91% of ITDMs state the pandemic underscores the importance of strong endpoint security, and 91% state endpoint security is equally as important as network security.

This article originally appeared on our sister site CE Pro.

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