It seems like it’s impossible to go an hour without hearing about or seeing the firsthand impacts of COVID-19/ coronavirus. In addition to the obvious health and economic impacts the outbreak has had across the globe, there are a number of forgotten and unexpected risks wreaking havoc. Many of these risks impact the businesses just like yours.
1. Working from home
To limit the rapid spread of the coronavirus, many businesses are allowing their employees to work from home. A remote workforce opens up your company to a whole new world of cyber security vulnerabilities. Instead of rushing the transition, ensure proper precautions and policies are in place:
Use a VPN: A virtual private network, or VPN, helps protect the data you send and receive while working outside your business network. This is especially important if you work with sensitive financial or customer data.
Secure your home network: The National Security Alliance’s Stay Safe Online suggests protecting your home network by changing the default name of your router, creating a strong WiFi password, opting for WPA2 security, purchasing a firewall, and segmenting your network.
Lock your device: To prevent purposeful or accidental data viewing or deletion, make sure you lock your computer when not in use. You can do this quickly by hitting CTRL + ALT + DELETE + ENTER or WINDOWS + L.
Stay updated: Updates improve the security and performance of your computer/smartphone/tablet. Regardless of where you’re working from, ensuring your device is up to date is important to fend off cyber threats.
Get informed: Make sure you’re aware of your company’s cyber security policies including use, access control, change management, information security, incident response, disaster recovery, and business continuity policies.
2. Outdated technology
The use of aging technology makes you a security vulnerability. Older smartphones, laptops, desktops, and tablets don’t receive security updates and therefore leave the front door open to cyber bad guys. Thanks to Windows 7 end of life earlier this year, many people are currently using an outdated device. If you’re a Windows user, steps to find out what version you’re running can be found here. You can find out what macOS version you’re using here.
Cybercriminals often use timely schemes, such as IRS scams during tax season, to dupe unsuspecting people into sharing personal information. Unfortunately, the recent pandemic is no exception. Scammers are taking advantage of coronavirus concerns through the use of targeted phishing campaigns. Here are some recent tips from the Federal Trade Commission on how to protect yourself:
Don’t click links from unknown origins: Not all links are what they appear to be and some could install malware onto your computer. If you get an email with a link, think before you click. Hover over the link to see if the URL it’s directing you to is what it says it is. When in doubt, browse directly to the sender’s website instead of clicking the email link. Read our blog post, How to Avoid Becoming the Catch of the Day, for more phishing examples and tips.
Check your sources: We all want to stay up to date on the latest virus information but be cautious of emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO). Cybercriminals love to take advantage of people when they’re feeling vulnerable. For reputable, up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit the CDC and WHO websites directly. As a reminder, these organizations will never request personal information, send you unanticipated email attachments, or ask you to visit strange links. Also, avoid falling for clickbait “medical breakthroughs” or false calls for aid from supposed charitable organizations.
These unprecedented times are disrupting our daily lives, but remaining calm and working together will help us all get through.