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COVID-19: It’s impact & what we can learn.


The coronavirus pandemic has brought to light new challenges that have ultimately forced businesses to adjust its work dynamic to keep the company running effectively. Not only has it been difficult for individuals to adjust to this new way of life, but it has also influenced malicious activity to exploit where people and businesses are most vulnerable. Below are some examples of how the coronavirus has impacted us and some advice on what to do moving forward.


Phishing

The number of phishing scams that have occurred in the past year have soared to new dreadful heights. According to BBC News, since the pandemic began, phishing attacks have increased over 600%. Remember: phishing is typically used in emails and is a malicious attempt to obtain confidential information by appearing to be a trustworthy source. Phishing emails usually contain links to fake websites and prompt you to enter your username and password for various accounts such as social media, bank, and email accounts.


If you fall victim to a phishing attack and enter your credentials, cybercriminals not only have your username and password, but they can also wreak havoc in your email.


For example, attackers can sneak into your account and set up email forwarding without you even knowing! All those confidential emails you send to customers or employees are then also sent to the bad actor.


Fake Websites & Apps

Attackers will create fake websites regarding the coronavirus and lure viewers to send donations, purchase personal protective equipment (PPP), or give inaccurate data about the number of global coronavirus cases causing fear and hysteria.


There has also been an uptick in coronavirus-related mobile apps created that are laced with malware and trick individuals into believing it contains authentic data. Once installed on mobile devices, the applications download and install malware for the cybercriminal to monitor devices and steal credentials.


These fake websites and apps imitate official sources and appear to be coming from trusted government agencies.


Videoconferencing

In the early months of remote working and learning, videoconferencing companies, Zoom in particular, were especially targeted as platform use increased significantly. Videoconferencing wasn’t notably popular until businesses were pushed to work and operate from home.


As such, cybercriminals exploited security vulnerabilities on these platforms as much as possible and did it have an effect. Attackers got ahold of credentials on the dark web and were able to sneak into meetings to post inappropriate pictures and videos as well as drawings among other things.


These unexpected “Zoombombing” attacks pressured Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms to ramp up security measures to prevent those types of incidences from happening again.


What we can learn

Over the past year, there has been a surge in security vulnerabilities being exploited. From phishing scams to malicious apps and websites, it is important to be aware of the constant dangers out there. Become more familiar with these things and understand them. Do research on the topics and look up latest cybersecurity news relating to COVID-19. By creating more awareness, we can prevent cybercriminals from capitalizing on fears related to the pandemic.


Since the vaccine has recently rolled out, many people are celebrating and confirming their vaccinations on social media. However, the Better Business Bureau says that if you received the COVID-19 vaccine to not post a photo of the card on social media.


Posting vaccination cards can allow people with malicious intentions to create fake vaccine cards or get personally identifiable information (PII) from you such as your address, phone number, or email. Being cognizant of what you post is becoming more critical now more than ever.


In the end, don’t be afraid to ask too many questions. If you think you received a phishing email, ask your IT team to look it over. You can never be too careful. And remember, don’t click on any suspicious links, and never send username or password credentials over email!


With COVID-19 still being a hot topic in the news, bad actors are going to continue to try to capitalize on people’s security vulnerabilities working from home. Be smart and look out for coronavirus-related scams!

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