Cyber criminals are on the prowl. These faceless agents are exploiting the uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic to steal valuable information and resources from their victims.
They do this through emails claiming to offer financial aid for pandemic-hit businesses. These fraudsters demand sensitive personal data in the guise of registering people for fictitious relief programs. They also exploit the security lapses of remote workers, infiltrate their networks, and steal their company’s data.
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The cyber threats from these agents has caught the attention of the CBN. Early in April, it issued a statement warning the public against their activities.
If your business depends on IT infrastructure, like a lot of us do these days, then it’s susceptible to attack from hackers and their ilk. You will want to protect yourself from the risks they pose.
The first step to doing this is to know the loopholes they could exploit.
The Main Sources of Coronavirus-Related Cyber Threats
These are the main sources of the threats from cyber criminals in these times.
1. Personal Devices and Email Accounts
Your IT staff or department may have set up robust security systems for your in-house devices. But employees’ laptops, tablets, and phones may not be as secure. They could also be using private email accounts without enabling protections against malicious emails or fishy subscriptions.
2. Unreliable Connections
It’s risky for workers to do their jobs with public WiFi. Anyone could break through it, snoop on their work, and steal sensitive data. Home connections may be safer, but someone with malicious intent could still gain access if they aren’t protected with strong passwords.
3. Virtual Meeting Platforms
Because teams are working remotely, they have to conduct meetings using virtual meeting platforms like Skype and Zoom. But these tools aren’t impregnable for criminals. Attackers have been able to steal login information from platform users and intrude on meetings that their victims should have attended.
4. Falsified Records
Sometimes it’s easier to authenticate paper documents than it is to verify digital records. For instance, a skilled actor could produce a near-perfect copy of your company’s letterhead or logo and use it for their nefarious activities. But even staff and contractors could exploit lapse oversight to falsify records like delivery and billing reports.
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How to Protect Against Threats in the Coronavirus Pandemic
Here are ten tips for safeguarding your business against the threats we have just discussed.
1. Don’t use a link invite to a video conference more than once. It may get compromised if it’s already been used.
2. Keep the sensitive information you share on virtual meetings at a minimum. You never know who may be listening, whether it’s live or after it’s been concluded. Share sensitive information through secure email platforms instead.
3. If someone else has to use your e-signature on a digital document, make sure they have your permission before doing so.
4. If you notice that there’s a change in the personal data of staff, customers or contractors you work with (like email or bank account) get a confirmation with them before using it.
5. Unless it’s necessary, you and your team should stick to using company email for work-related communication.
6. Compare sensitive documents you receive with your previous communication with the issuer, so you can tell if there’s a discrepancy.
7. Encourage your staff to use secure connections. They should have strong passwords for emails and home WiFi. Let them know the risks of using public WiFi, and discourage them from doing company work with it.
8. Don’t click on links or attachments in emails you receive if they seem suspicious. This applies especially if the sender isn’t a trusted contact.
9. Encrypt sensitive documents.
10. Report anything that looks like a major cyber threat to your IT personnel or the people in your organization that ought to know about it.
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