Are Cybercriminals Ramping Up Their Efforts During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

The Simplest Answer? Of Course… Cybercriminals Are Taking Advantage of the Fear and Uncertainty Happening Around the World. Here’s How to Stay Safe Against the Influx of Threats.

As coronavirus cases continue to rise around the world, many businesses are forced to embrace remote work as a way of protecting their employees, loved ones, and communities. The coronavirus pandemic has, unfortunately, led to cybercriminals ramping up their efforts as a result of the following:

  • Widescale adoption of remote access technologies
  • More significant activity on home networks
  • More interest in virus updates and/or knowledge

It’s a difficult time for many – trying to balance social distancing with their work, childcare, and overall, various aspects of life. But unfortunately, cybersecurity must remain a priority despite the rapidly evolving, stressful situation. Flavio Aggio, Chief Information Security Officer for The World Health Organization (WHO), explained

There has been a big increase in targeting of the WHO and other cybersecurity incidents. There are no hard numbers, but such compromise attempts against us and the use of WHO impersonations to target others have more than doubled.”

As Businesses Rush to Embrace Remote Work Without A Plan in Place, Employees Tend to Use Risky Work-Arounds to Ensure Access to Data and Systems.

One of the biggest challenges is the fact that many businesses are embracing remote work in a short amount of time, without a plan in place – lacking the proper foundation, tools, and guidance to do so safely. For instance, it’s easier to send and receive sensitive information via email because they don’t have a secure file sharing solution in place. Despite the rush to move to remote work, it’s essential to take your time and ensure you’re prepared.

Here are our tips to help you ensure your team remains secure against cybercrime as you transition to remote work:

  1. Use a virtual private network (VPN) that creates a secure, encrypted tunnel for employees connecting to the network from home. If possible, make use of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) as well to give employees access to their work systems.
  2. Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible when accessing cloud-based tools. This means you need a password and another form of identification, such as a PIN sent to your mobile device, to gain access.
  3. Avoid using email for sending sensitive information such as files, documents, and other details, and instead, use a secure file sharing service to communicate with colleagues as needed.
  4. Verify before clicking links or downloading attachments as phishing attacks are more common than ever before. If you want information on the coronavirus, go to official websites like the WHO or CDC.
  5. Remember that there is no miracle cure for coronavirus so don’t be fooled into thinking there is. If someone sends you an email outlining information on the cure, hit delete right away.

How Can You Spot a Phishing Email During This Difficult Time?

Right now, cybercriminals are sending more phishing emails than ever before – taking advantage of the fear and uncertainty around coronavirus. Here are a few popular methods we’ve seen:

  • Claiming to be from WHO or another healthcare agency offering information on vaccines, cases, cures, etc.
  • Claiming to be from the government offering the ability to sign up for federal or state-wide financial assistance programs.
  • Claiming to be from the receiver’s workplace requesting a signature and/or download of the company’s disease management policy.

If you’re not sure, always look for any sort of spelling and/or grammar errors – they tend to be a huge giveaway. Also, pay attention to the domain name within the email address. It’s best to assume that anything suspicious should be ignored.

Contact CTECH at (403) 457-1478 for Assistance with Working Remotely Without Sacrificing Security.