Social Distancing leading to Social Engineering

Washing your hands and social distancing are top of mind for all of us, but in addition to ensuring we have healthy habits over the next few weeks or months, we also need to ensure we stay secure and limit our risk of exposure to the growing number of social engineering and phishing scams.

The cybercriminals are primed and ready to exploit the United States as we all take to our homes to work, and our government is distracted trying to control and manage this deadly pandemic.

According to Business Insider, “There is concern that hackers will find it easier to secure confidential information like banking details in the coming weeks and months, as a large number of people will be working on insecure internet networks in their homes.” Hackers are exploiting the coronavirus crisis by posing as World Health Organization officials in order to steal bank details and target government infrastructure.

So, what can you do?

  1. If your home network is not secured, secure it immediately.
  2. Your home computer should be up to date with software and hardware updates, particularly your virus protection software.
  3. Change your passwords, with strong passwords, on a regular basis.
  4. Don’t be tricked into clicking on emails from people you don’t know because you want the latest update. If a topic is of interest, go and research it on your own. Do not click.
  5. If you want to make a charitable donation, you should go directly to the website, do not click on links.
  6. Make sure emails from people you do know are in fact the people you know. Before you click, click on the To: and make sure it is the actual email of the contact in the name

Here is an example: You are now working from home due to the coronavirus. Your CEO sends out an email, “These are our expectations for remote working due to the crisis.” It has a link to read the policy. The only thing that’s not true about that is that this email was never ever sent by your CEO. It was sent by malicious actors, similar to a normal phishing attack. You would be prone to click that because you think it’s information you should have, therefore of course you click it. It’s an easy way for malicious actors to get into your network.

So stay healthy and stay secure as you navigate the current environment, and now more than ever, share these best practices with friends and family.