As the world slowly starts to heal from COVID-19 which is still pretty much affecting the lives of people, some longstanding problems have begun to become more prevalent. Cybersecurity is one of them. You see cybercriminals always know when to strike. And this pandemic was the ideal time for them to do so. When the epidemic began, it caused great confusion among people. Cybercriminals took this as an opportunity and sent malicious links to users by using enticing headlines about Coronavirus updates. Fraudulent emails were sent to people, and many fell prey to cybercriminals’ vicious attacks.
The Rise of Social Engineering Scams
Social engineering scams often occur in times of natural disaster, pandemic, and mass shootings. Here are some of the COVID-19 related threats that surfaced.
#1. Hidden Malware
Many people have received malicious emails which direct users to health and educational websites that are infected with malware. Some of these emails also contain an attachment opening which can affect your system with different viruses.
#2. False Cures & Advises
Some cybercriminal masterminds have also sent phishing emails while purporting them as medical professionals. These emails would also contain attachments, advising them to open them to know about secret cures that can help you get rid of COVID-19. If you have ever received such an email then it is strongly advised not to download or open any attachment. This is because if you do so then your system may get affected by malware that can steal your personal and financial information.
#3. False Charity
This too is a phishing campaign in which cybercriminals mimic the CDC and ask people to make a donation to help them fight the virus. It is recommended not to follow such traps. And if you really do want to make a donation then do so by visiting the charity’s official website.
3 Ways to Stop Cyberthreats
There are a number of ways through which an organization can protect itself from different cyber threats. Here are a few of them.
#1. Educating Your Employees
Employees are your first line of defense which it comes to blocking cyberattacks. But ever so often, that defense requires strengthening. For this, you will need to educate your employees regarding what online threats are and how cybercriminals can steal their data by sending phishing emails. You will have to coach your workforce to take the following safety precautions so they may not only secure themselves but also the company from any malicious activity.
- Be skeptical of the mails received from an unknown individual and don’t click the link if it has any.
- Avoid forwarding the email to your peers.
- Check if the email has any grammatical errors and do examine the email address of the sender.
- If you have received a suspicious email then report it to your IT staff.
- Install the anti-phishing along with anti-virus software.
#2. Take the Crisis as A Test of Resilience
You can ensure the safety of your organization from the COVID-19 related scams and phishing emails through training and skepticism. Apart from educating your employees, you will need to think of many other strategies that can protect your business. Here are some of the steps that you can consider taking.
- Define your plan of action in case of a phishing attack.
- Make sure there is no flaw in your remote access policy.
- Use different security protocols to discover and disable threats before attackers can launch their assault.
- Protect your company’s tools and devices against advanced and standard malware.
#3. Introduce A New Approach
As cybercriminals can easily target unsuspecting employees by sending them phishing emails, it poses a great threat to an organization. How? Well, the attackers can gain access to the valuable data which may contain trade secrets or sensitive information regarding different business operations such as the type of performance appraisal methods they use. Therefore, most businesses focus on securing different parameters in order to remain secure. Well, it is time they head for a new approach; enter the Borderless Data Access Controls or BDAC. It is a zero-trust model which will conduct identity verification and would inspect and monitor anyone or any device that accesses your business’ private network. It is a great approach that will minimize the attacks.
As the world is still combating the current pandemic, different malicious users took it as a perfect opportunity to scam people as well as businesses. However, it is hoped that this article would have given you an understanding of how cybercriminals are targeting innocent people and big companies. If you ever encounter some of the scams discussed above then it is recommended to report it to your supervisor so he/she can take appropriate action. Also, if you run a business then do consider the above-mentioned three ways to make sure that your company remains safe from any malevolent activities.