Consumer and business security experts are warning that hackers are taking advantage of public concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and luring people into giving away critical personal and financial information like account numbers, passwords, and Social Security numbers.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are a number of fake emails and texts currently being used by scammers to steal money, identities, or both.
Hackers also use phishing emails to get access to personal and business computers and networks. When people click on the links in these emails, the hackers install ransomware or other virus programs that lock users out.
Scammers will often send emails and texts using familiar company names and logos or pretend to be someone we know to gain our trust.
It’s of vital importance that we all stay particularly vigilant during this time to protect ourselves from malicious attacks and scams. Avoid becoming a victim of these scams by following these helpful IT security tips for individuals and businesses…
How to Protect Yourself:
- Make sure your computer software is up to date.
- Install security or antivirus software.
- Secure your accounts by using multi-factor authentication.
- Ensure against lost data by backing it up on a separate device or the cloud.
- Use only trusted sites for information on the coronavirus, and do not follow links sent via email or text from sources you don’t know or trust.
- Before you pass on any messages, and certainly before you pay someone or share your personal information, do some fact checking by contacting trusted sources.
Remember that government agencies will NOT send emails that ask for personal information in exchange for coronavirus updates. Here are two trusted online sources you can visit for up-to-date information:
World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
How to Protect Your Business or Organization:
If you are a business owner or manager, there are additional steps you can take to help protect your team and your customers:
- Use a firewall to protect your network from unauthorized access.
- Run up-to-date virus protection software on all of your company computers.
- Ensure all remote employees are using a VPN every time they access your network. (If you need help setting up a VPN let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Remind all employees to practice proper password protocols and be on the look out for phishing emails.
- Ensure your business has a backup and disaster recovery plan that includes off-site storage of all business data.
If you have questions about any of the topics above or have IT security or business technology concerns, please feel free to reach out to us. We’re here for you!