Phishing Scams in the Age of COVID-19

As you’re all aware of by now, a somewhat unprecedented event has taken place across the globe in the form of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and in the wake of this sweeping catastrophe, life as we know it in most parts of the world has come to a proverbial standstill. It is even affecting us here in the information technology sector, what with a myriad of scams and other hazards rearing their ugly heads at a time when people should be coming together and helping one another.

Though we can’t, unfortunately, eradicate every scammer and hacker before they have an opportunity to prey on unsuspecting people – and believe us, we wish we could – we can do our part by making sure you are aware of some vital bits of information in these trying times.

The fact of the matter is that COVID-19 scams are on the rise, with our threat research team discovering cybercriminals who have taken advantage of the news cycle. These shameless entities have been using logos from trusted sources like the World Health Organization in their phishing emails and hiding malware in COVID-19 online trackers.

A scenario such as this puts your employees, especially your remote workforce, and customers at risk. It’s up to all of us to help everyone stay safe, both online and offline, and to this end, we can say that the best defense is prevention. To help you take a preventative stance, we here at DMS iTech would like to provide education so you can plan ahead.

Staying “Cyber-Resilient” During a Pandemic

For those of us who are fortunate enough, in these times, to work remotely, we are doing more of this than we ever have before. You can be sure that cybercriminals won’t be taking a break during any of this, and, if anything, there will likely be an increase of attacks and ransom “demands” – partly because this is when infrastructures of modern civilizations are needed most, and because many of these criminals have now been forced to work from home because their shifts have been canceled. This leaves them with more time (and motivation) to make up their income via another stream/source.

The key is being one step ahead of these folks, so let’s now get into what you can do to protect yourself.

Tips for Individuals

  • Ensure all of your devices have antivirus protection and that they’re up to date.
  • Err on the side of caution when giving out personal information and be suspicious of requests for personal information via email, phone, text message or social media.
  • Do not open emails regarding COVID-19 from unknown senders; these could be phishing scams.
  • Do not click on links regarding COVID-19 in emails, as these can be used to spread computer viruses and other malware, and don’t download or open email attachments from unknown parties, click on links in social media messages (even your contacts’ accounts may have been compromised) or click on ads or social media posts regarding COVID-19 (they could be false and contain malicious content).

Tips for Businesses

  • Be prepared for remote work conditions (this includes enabling everyone to work from off-site locations, ensuring all employees feel welcome to work from home when needed, installing robust endpoint security on all devices so employees and data stay safe, giving all employees access to a VPN to help protect corporate data wherever they connect and other tactics).
  • Be prepared for threats to your data (this encompasses protecting all endpoint devices, including computers and servers, with next-generation cybersecurity solutions; creating a data backup process for data availability at alternate business locations when your primary office is shut down; implementing high-availability data replication and migration safeguards to ensure data is available regardless of what happens and adding protection for Microsoft Office 365 and other collaboration platforms so content stored and shared in the cloud stay safe).

DMS iTech: Committed to Resilience

You can rest assured that we are practicing what we preach, especially in the areas of Office 365 and antivirus protection. Contact DMS iTech today for more information about keeping your operations healthy in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic.