COVID-19 has caused chaos and enormous suffering worldwide. On top of it all, hackers and cybercriminals have seen the pandemic as a way to make money, using phishing to extort and steal. Let’s look at some of the ways these unscrupulous individuals have tried to cash in on the pandemic, and how you can boost your cybersecurity to protect yourself against these opportunists.
Securelist.com reports that spam and phishing trends in 2021 were clearly aligned with the pandemic and the situations arising from it. Here are some of the ways in which hackers and con artists have been trying to take advantage.
Stimulus Payment Scams
As economies and livelihoods were hit by the pandemic, governments rolled out various assistance programmes, including bail-out funds and economic impact payments. Hackers have attempted to hijack the process, sending messages designed to con users into providing their personal details. Like many phishing messages, the emails looked professional and genuine. Clients of some banks were targeted, and directed to lookalike bank websites that would allow hackers to steal their information, and ultimately their money. People were instructed to click on links on the bank’s COVID-19 practices, but these links were bogus and also designed to help cybercriminals gather information.
Initially, COVID-19 vaccines were hard to get hold of, and demand was huge. Hackers saw an opportunity here, and sent out phishing emails that appeared to come from official health bodies. Again, the targets would be told to click on a link in the email, which would take them to a page asking for personal information, sometimes including bank account details. It wasn’t just people trying to get vaccinated who were targeted. People who’d received their vaccination reported receiving fake surveys about their experience, with prizes and rewards promised to those who filled them in.
Beat the Scammers
You can seal up cracks in your organization’s cybersecurity and it’s essential to do whatever you can. Phishing attacks can assume different forms and you need to be aware and prepared. Here are some measures you can adopt to avoid falling prey to phishing scams.
• A spam filter will keep a lot of dangerous mail out of your inbox, but a whole lot are still going to get through. Don’t relax just because you’ve got a spam filter in operation.
• Make sure your staff know what to look for. Employees who are alert to the dangers of phishing scams are a great resource. Untrained staff can be the weakest link. Links in unsolicited emails should not be clicked and attachments should not be opened.
• Use a Unified Threat Management tool for additional protection. When it comes to the security and the future of your business, it’s worth putting in all the protective measures you can. A UTM is a single cybersecurity solution that can optimize security for your IT systems.
Quikteks can help you protect your business against hackers and scammers. We can implement effective security solutions and training for your staff on how to utilize them effectively. We can test the level of vigilance by sending out fake phishing emails, to check that everyone is paying attention and appreciates the threat. To learn more about how Quikteks can help your business, call us at (973) 882-4644.