The COVID-19 pandemic has hit just about every country and cybercriminals have taken full advantage of its crippling effects. The sheer volume of increased cyberattacks has exposed the vulnerability of individuals, businesses, and governments. Scam e-mails from what appear to be valid sources such as the World Health Organization or government health websites have opened up a dam of viruses and malware in a time when people should be focusing on protecting themselves and their families. This condition requires that everyone try to pay extra attention and take actions that will help to maintain the integrity of their companies as well as their personal technologies.
Cybercriminals know that many are working from home during the pandemic and may not have the extra firewalls that they would use in the business environment. A first step will be to instruct those that are using their personal laptops, phones, and tablets, to add a highly rated firewall. Limit the number of people working remotely for network access and upper level information. Just as in COVID-19, cybercriminals will not discriminate and this requires extra attention from everyone.
Organize a crisis management plan with the IT/Cybersecurity staff to address actions that must be taken if an employee has been breached with a cyberattack. Inform all staff members of the main contact and initial actions to take in the event of an attack.
Being aware of the types of attacks can empower individuals to take control so that they don’t fall prey to the many scams being sent by cybercriminals:
- Only rely on COVID-19 trusted sources for information.
- Research and verify all charities that you might want to donate to.
- Don’t click on any links within an email or open email attachments.
- Never respond to any emails that are in your junk or spam area.
- Never respond to any emails that are from unknown sources.
- Do not offer any financial or personal information.
Misinformation about COVID-19 has exploded. Verifying that you are getting authentic source information is now a bit easier. The World Health Organization has aligned with Rakuten Viber to “reach on 1 billion people in their local language directly through their mobile phones” to ensure truth in pandemic information. You can easily subscribe with the WHO Viber chatbot.
Online COVID-19 product sales are at an all-time high and there has been a drastic increase in sources that are not only invalid, but will take advantage of the sensitive and emotional situation to get financial information for identity theft.
- Make sure that the URL domain as an “HTTPS” (s=security) An HTTP URL is not secure.
- Verify the URL domain name: Reputable sellers don’t usually have subdomains that have elaborate or long web addresses.
- Visit the seller website. Look at the “About us” page to make sure they have contact information.
- Examine the seller URL for any spelling errors. Some criminals do this to imitate real sellers.
- Don’t purchase products that are on social media pages such as Facebook ads.
- Before buying anything check out any product reviews.
“Da Vinci Forensics wants to ensure that everyone remains safe and healthy during the pandemic crisis. Thinking and acting with a clear head that involves logic and common sense is the best way that we can all get through this situation. We are working with individuals and companies to inform and offer counseling so that people protect themselves, their technologies, and their businesses.”