Virtual Events

Make Your Virtual Event #CyberSafe with These Preventive Hacks!

Eventually Learning Team
In the wake of recent Russian cyber threats to the US events ecosystem, event organizers from all over the world are revising their cyber security hacks and lessons. Last year, the infamous SolarWinds attack made the entire US cyber security systems come apart at the seams.

Cyber security agents and officials from the government organizations as well as the non-government conglomerates like Microsoft, put their heads together to understand what caused the cyber-attack.

Avoid Making Your Virtual Event an Easy Target for Cyber-Attacks

As veterans in the events industry, we have all seen how zoom-bombing has had a negative impact on the credibility of virtual events leading to harassment, slander and defamation filings. But there are serious illegal cases of data theft, money laundering and loss of sensitive information related to intellectual property rights that persist worse.

What is it that the B2B events possess that the cyber attackers are on the lookout for? What makes cyber-attacks protection a must?

Valuable information.

The malicious attacks spearheaded by phishing masterminds forge a path that can lead an individual attendee to download viral payload or supply credentials and personal data in a watering hole attack. The event on 6connex attended by John Hammond, senior security researcher at Huntress, was said to have several cyber-security discrepancies ranging from information disclosure and potential personal data leakage, through to affording direct access to databases and even remote code execution (RCE).

Virtual Business Events are thus indeed a juicy cyber target – with loads of information, data and vulnerable attendees!

Online Event Risks

Cyber terrorists use social engineering ruses to lure unsuspecting attendees acquiring huge amounts of data used for future phishing activities or to be sold on the Dark Web. It can also be combined with other data for national risks and hazardous surveillance.

Types of Online Attacks

There are varied cyber-crimes that take place with virtual events and the co-related platforms. The most common types include:
  1. Room block poaching – In this type of cyber-attack, the poachers steal attendee information from an event and persuade them into buying hotel room blocks that are nowhere near the actual location of the event. Often times, the hotels are non-existent or of extremely poor quality resulting in the attendee’s financial loss and mental harassment.
  2. Injection of Ransom ware and Malware – The cyber criminals hijack the event websites to insert malware and steal the attendee information like their financial credentials and more, risking their privacy, funds etc.
  3. Targeted Phishing attack – Most common cyber threats, phishing attacks include malware and virus introduced through emails, app or document downloads which can spill the attendee information or worse – give the hacker a way into the attendee’s devices like tabs, laptops or mobile phones.
  4. Denial of services attacks – The attacker purposefully tries to exhaust the event website’s resources in order to create a huge shortage of services pertaining to huge financial losses for the organizers.
  5. Zero Day Exploit – When a cyber-attack targets a software’s vulnerability that is still to be discovered by the software and antivirus vendors, then it is known as a zero-day exploit.

Risk Assessment: The First Step Towards Cyber Attacks Protection

Risk analysis and assessment for your virtual event minimizes the chances of cyber-attacks. Here are a few steps that an event organizer must partake as a risk assessment before the planning of an online event: -
  1. Verify your attendees: You can block or remove attendees who have not provided verification details. As these could be bots, artificial intelligence codes that can enter into the event.
  2. Access Malware detection software: It can be used for Q&A and Chat section to filter out the abuses, irrelevant links or promotions and more.
  3. Avoid unsolicited recording: Record the event from the organizer’s end and under no circumstances should you approve the recording from the attendees’ ends.
  4. Use a complex password: Create a strong password that cannot get easily hacked and avoid sharing your virtual meeting link randomly in forums, on social media or any website.

Preventing Cyber Attacks

Prevention is better than cure’ stands true in case of cyber-attacks as these can harm and befall an entire organization within a few days’ time. Here are a few cyber safety tips that can save your virtual event from falling prey to the cyber attackers. Preventing Cyber Attacks is possible!

Regulate the access to your event

Verification of your attendees will help you regulate your list. Never share the entire roadmap of your event with the attendees instead share specific information and update the passwords regularly. You can make use of the MFA – multi-factor authentication practice to put a pause on any DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks.

Utilize latest cyber protocols

Ask your event team to research well around the most recent procedures to be followed. Keep checking for any gaps in the cyber security. If there is a suspicion of a cyber-breach, immediately inform your security compliance team.

Leverage end-to-end encryption

Choose an event partner that has a platform with this facility. The end-to-end encryption service is needed for protecting data from phishers, hackers and attackers. Your attendees will join the event from anywhere across the globe with a huge possibility of involving risky and virulent network connections. Another solution for this can be asking your attendees to link through an enterprise-grade VPN.

Monitor safety throughout the event

If an in-person event can have safety protocols, guards and an entire team – the virtual event deserves to have people keeping a check on the data being downloaded, conversations happening in parallel rooms and everything else.

Make your event GDPR-compliant

Choose software that are compliant with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) in Europe and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) for the US. This will put you in an environment with the added safety net.

Use cloud based event management systems

Another crucial cyber safety tip! Event organizers must create a cloud-based storage for the EMS, as this will ensure that the data is stored at one place instead of a myriad of different technological devices.

Final Word

As the hybrid and virtual event formats rise steadily and more attendees get inclined towards these, the cyber-crime has to be kept under tab. Controlling malicious online activity is a tough row to hoe, but you can certainly do it! As event planners – saving the virtual event from cyber-attackers, protecting the vulnerable and naïve attendees from getting their data or funds stolen is your responsibility to be shouldered. Get assistance from the above cybersecurity hacks, compliance companies, plan your event well and don’t leave out any loopholes.

Happy planning to you!

Frequently Asked Questions

List down the latest data compliance rules for virtual events.

The personal data, information and credentials must be stored in a cloud computed space secured with complex passcodes which cannot be hacked by the attackers. The GDPR (general data protection regulation) also aligns the data compliance and safety for virtual events.
GDPR's seven principles are: lawfulness, fairness and transparency; purpose limitation; data minimisation; accuracy; storage limitation; integrity and confidentiality (security); and accountability.

How can you convince an attendee that their data will be secure in the online event?

A virtual event prospect can be convinced when the event organizer includes top-notch data security and event safety software in the pitch. It can be a point of extreme stress and indecisiveness for an attendee when the event has to offer great facilities and returns in terms of networking, knowledge but the security chain is broken.

What are some of the challenges that virtual event organizers face?

The event planners face several difficulties when it comes to virtual events, finding a suitable platform, convincing attendees about the safety and protecting the event from cyber-attackers tops the list.

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