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April 14, 2020

IBM confirms that Covid-19 scams are on the rise

By GlobalData Technology

The overnight shift of brick and mortar operations by enterprises and governments to a remote work model put technology companies front and center in the fight for businesses survival. IT vendors and service providers are helping clients with everything from standing up new collaboration systems and providing critical connectivity, to delivering AI-based tools to support customer communications with fewer call center resources. As one of the world’s largest providers of technology and professional and managed services, IBM has been leading a charge through massive efforts to transition to remote operations, so that company executives may accelerate larger transformations.

In a roundtable for a (remote) audience of industry analysts, IBM executives detailed how the company is working differently through the Covid-19 outbreak, and what they are doing to help their customers maintain stable and continuous operations. The company which itself shifted to an almost entirely remote workforce before most countries began issuing stay at home orders, has aligned its Covid-19 work with the major business and technology challenges its clients are contending with during the outbreak.

Two of these are in many ways related: enhancing IT resiliency and business continuity; and addressing new cybersecurity risks. Jesus Mantas, managing partner, global strategy, platforms and innovation for IBM GBS, said the sudden move to a remote work model for so many traditional organizations introduced new risks to operational continuity and IT security. Security incidents have skyrocketed during the outbreak, soaring 40% as opportunistic hackers look to take advantage of new security gaps.

IBM uncovered 50 different Covid-19 themed attacks

Covid-19-specific credential phishing and malware have emerged as two of the more common attack types during this period. Mantas said in IBM’s monitoring of 70 billion security events, it had uncovered 50 different Covid-19 themed campaigns.

Mantas said IBM has mobilizing a number of security technologies that address the remote workforce issue including MaaS360 endpoint management solution which incorporate threat intelligence on Covid-19 related spam and malware.

IBM has also stepped up its managed and consultative services offering virtualized support for organizations that have reduced staff. The provider is also offering virtualized incident response support.

While Mantas and a team of other executives noted the Covid-19 outbreak has created an unprecedented volatility for organizations across all industries, it has also provided real proof points for technologies like AI and cloud. One of the parting messages was that remote working may be the accelerant for transformation.