Criminals Are Exploiting Pandemic

Businesses have had to grapple with dramatic changes to the way they operate in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis. The public health concerns have forced millions of American workers to shift to working from home, often using personal devices and home wireless networks to connect.

What’s more, businesses were forced to quickly launch new tools to help their employees stay productive and connected. Zoom usage, for example, reached 200 million daily users in March 2020, compared to a yearly daily high of 10 million in 2019. The videoconferencing software has been the subject of hacks and security issues that have forced the company to scramble, halt all feature development work, and focus on security and privacy fixes instead.

Criminals Are Exploiting Pandemic by Targeting Business Technology

What Is the Impact of Working from Home on Cybersecurity?

Companies are dealing with significant challenges today, trying to maintain revenue streams while navigating considerable business disruptions. Also, employees are struggling with a new working environment, economic and health worries, and, in many cases, caring for children now learning from home. It’s a massive challenge for everyone, and it’s exposed to vulnerabilities that hackers are exploiting.

Interpol noted that the crisis had generated a surge in cyberattacks, many trying to play on fears, unfamiliarity with technologies, and a keen desire for information. Criminals are buying thousands of web domains with names related to COVID-9 and coronavirus as ways to lure unsuspecting users into providing access to business systems mistakenly.

“Cybercriminals are attacking the computer networks and systems of individuals, businesses, and even global organizations at a time when cyber defenses might be lowered due to the shift of focus to the health crisis,” Interpol stated in a recent web post.

Among the most common attacks are emails or texts that claim to be from an official from a government agency with information about the pandemic or government support. However, these phishing attempts contain links or attachments that, if activated, can embed malware on a personal computer. Once a system is infiltrated, hackers can steal data or launch a ransomware attack that holds your website or data hostage until payment is made.

How Can I Protect Business Technology During the Pandemic?

Here are a few tips to keep your data, employees, and systems safe during this challenging time:

  • Beware of claims for miracle cures. These emails are likely malware attempts.
  • Educate users about how to spot suspicious emails and how to report them
  • Do not fall for calls or emails alleging a relative is in the hospital and needs money to pay medical bills.
  • Only open emails and attachments from trusted sources
  • Microsoft, Google, Zoom, Apple, and government agencies will not call or email asking for usernames or passwords.
  • Assess who needs access to which data files and restrict access accordingly
  • Back up online and offline files regularly.
  • Monitor networks for suspicious and unwanted activity
  • Be sure that Zoom users are using default security settings such as requiring passwords, turning off screen sharing, and using waiting rooms to admit participants.
  • Require strong passwords and ensure they are updated frequently
  • Use multifactor authentication for access to systems, apps, and files, especially when using personal mobile devices.
  • Use anti-malware, anti-spam, and anti-phishing software.
  • Restrict access to known suspicious websites
  • Update third-party apps like Zoom or Microsoft Teams to protect against emerging cyberthreats

Essential Solutions provides customized cybersecurity solutions designed to meet each customer’s needs. Our solutions include 24/7 security monitoring, endpoint security, industry-specific security policies, and procedures and comprehensive security assessments. Let us help you in this challenging time with cybersecurity to protect your most valuable assets. To learn more, contact us today.

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