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Staying Protected During COVID-19

The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is a big deal. For many of us the structure of our lives is changing daily; and those of us who are capable of doing our work remotely are likely doing so more than we ever have before.

It’s not likely that cybercriminals will cut us a break during this difficult time of quarantine and pandemic outbreak. If anything, we will only see an increase of attacks and ransom amounts since this is when infrastructures of modern civilization are needed most but have the least amount of time to react and debate on paying or negotiating the price. Also, many of the cybercriminals who breach and ransom as a side job are now forced to either work from home or their shifts are completely canceled, leaving them with more time and motivation to make up their income elsewhere. This is a prime circumstance for increased cyberattacks, and individuals and businesses should be hyper aware of their behavior both online and offline.

Not only are phishing and ransomware attacks, which tend to capitalise on current headlines, on the rise, but business email compromise is also up. This is when a cybercriminal breaks into a legitimate corporate email account and impersonates the real owner to defraud the business or its partners, customers, or employees into sending money or sensitive data to the attacker. With so many more people working remotely and less able to verify emailed requests from coworkers as legitimate, you can imagine how this threat could run rampant.

Below we have some tips for keeping your business safe with the sudden increase in remote workers.

  • Ensure you have antivirus protection on all your devices, and that it’s up to date.
  • Give all employees access to a VPN to help protect corporate data, wherever they connect.
  • Add collaboration tools so teams can continue to work together while physically separated.
  • Do not open emails regarding COVID-19 from unknown senders as these could be phishing scams.
  • Exercise caution when providing personal information. Be very suspicious of requests for personal information that occur via email, phone, text message, or social media message.
  • Encourage employees to be extra vigilant about unexpected invoices or other financial requests. Even when we’re all remote, it only takes a quick phone call to verify the legitimacy of an unusual request.
  • Add protection for Microsoft Office 365 and other collaboration platforms so content stored and shared in the cloud stays safe.
  • Empower employees to become a strong line of defense by educating them about cybersecurity and data safety risks.

The best defense is prevention. To prevent, you have to plan ahead.

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