As the world scrambles to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, social break is the best band-aid we currently have at our auctioning to accommodate the spread of the alarming virus. For most organizations, companies, and government agencies, this means they must acclaim or acquaint their advisers to work from home and avoid congregating at offices, where they risk acceptable apparent to coronavirus contamination.

But while remote alive provides much-needed aegis adjoin COVID-19, it will also open a Pandora’s box of cybersecurity and aloofness threats. Among the growing threats are phishing scams, social engineering attacks that trick their victims into downloading malware or absolute acute information.

Attackers usually take advantage of chaos and confusion to make their phishing emails look more convincing. And the coronavirus crisis is one of the most ambagious times we’ve been going through in the past decades, creating the absolute storm for phishers.

According to Barracuda Networks, phishing attacks have seen a 667-percent surge from February to March, as the coronavirus spread took on communicable accommodation and many countries are arty city-wide quarantines and lockdowns.

Here are a few tips to stay safe as you adjust to your new work ambiance and culture.

The COVID-19 lockdown has made you a more admired target

Before because your own aegis and aloofness threats, you need to look at things through the eyes of the attackers. Cybercriminals are always bloodthirsty on unwary users, tricking them into beat on awful links or downloading malware-infected attachments. But in general, attackers go after targets that accommodate the most value and are easier to target.

Previously, advancing you in your home would accommodate hackers access to your claimed documents, home aegis camera feeds, and smart home devices.

But with home networks acceptable able work environments during the coronavirus lockdown, cybercriminals have a much bigger allurement to target them. Now, breaking into a home arrangement can potentially accommodate a aperture for hackers to steal admired business data or gain a ballast into the remote work network.

Therefore, the first aegis alertness admeasurement for the COVID-19 work-from-home is to accede the absoluteness that you’ve become a much more admired target.

Beware of coronavirus-related phishing attacks


Any email that claims to accommodate COVID-19-related advice should be eyed with suspicion. Things such as news about the coronavirus cure, or a downloadable guide to alienated appliance the virus are absolute guises for phishing attacks. Be very accurate of such emails, abnormally if they accommodate accessories or alien links.

Don’t forget: Your main source of advice about COVID-19 should be official bodies such as the World Health Organization or your civic health authority, such as the CDC or the NHS.

But you should exercise attention even when ambidextrous with official sources.

Earlier this month, security advisers at Sophos spotted phishing campaigns that impersonated WHO officials. One email claimed to accommodate safety measures adjoin the novel coronavirus. The email independent a link to a clone of the WHO website, but which independent an extra detail: It asked for your email password.

Security Tip: A public advice website should never ask for your email password. At most, they might ask for your email abode to send you newsletters. In these trying times, my accepted advice is to anon get your advice from the WHO coronavirus page instead of beat on email links.

Another phishing attack was targeted at Italy, where the infection and death toll have been alarmingly high. The email independent a bulletin that allegedly came from an Italian WHO urged the users to download the attachment, a Word certificate that contained ransomware, a type of malware that encrypts the files on your computer and keeps you locked out until you pay a ransom to the attacker.

Hackers often hide their malware in macros, bits of code that run in MS Office documents. The threat has been so severe that Microsoft alien macro-less abstracts (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx, etc.) and disabled macros on all Office applications by default. But the attackers try to trick the recipients into disabling Word’s aegis appearance to run the macros and encrypt their files.

Another phishing attack apparent by IBM used macro-embedded accessories in emails that declared to accommodate COVID-19-prevention tips to spread a known trojan that steals advice from users.

Security tip: Official organizations usually send their public statements as PDF files. It is a universally adopted format and most accessories and operating systems can view it by default. Organizations seldom use Word abstracts to advertisement information, and they almost never use ancient macro-embedded files. So, whenever you see a Word attachment, accede it a red flag. Again, if WHO seems to be sending a accepted annual or certificate to you, there’s a very likely chance that they’ve also appear it on their website. It might take you a few annual to search the WHO website for the document, but you’ll be much safer.

Phishing attacks targeted at remote workers

Campaigns distinctively targeted at remote workers and acceptance is the new trend of phishing attacks during the coronavirus lockdown.

There have been several cases where acceptance have accustomed emails that acutely came from university admiral and claimed to accommodate updates about the coronavirus lockdown. The emails prompted users to click on links that redirected them to websites that appropriate the entry of university login information.

In one case, discovered by Abnormal Security, the attackers were impersonating a university’s board of advisers to lure users to a website that stole their credentials.

Other phishing scams prey on advisers who are just accepting started on remote work. One attack apparent by aegis vendor Cofense affected to come from the human assets administration of a aggregation and prompted the almsman to click on a link and enter their accreditation to enroll for a remote work program. The email also stated a borderline to create urgency.

Other emails claim to come from IT staff and prompt users to install software or accommodate their work appliance credentials.

Security tip: Be very wary of any work-related email you receive, abnormally if it seems to come from a very accepted source such as a administration or addition you don’t alone know. If it asks for advice or asks you to click on a link, be even more suspicious. There are always ways to verify such claims. For instance, you can call the administration or person in catechism by phone or through your accord messaging tool (Teams, Slack, etc.).

Strengthen your annual aegis during the coronavirus lockdown

Phishing capitalizes on human error, and at the end of the day, any of us might fall victim at some point. While we’re still ambidextrous with the abashing of the coronavirus lockdown, here are some accepted aegis tips that will add to your layers of aegis adjoin phishing scams:

  • Enable two-factor affidavit (2FA): Most online applications, including accumulated services, abutment two-factor authentication. 2FA requires users to accommodate an extra token of buying (mobile app, concrete key, fingerprint, etc.) when logging in from a new device. With 2FA enabled, even if a hacker steals your password, they still won’t be able to access your annual because they don’t have the 2FA token.
  • Keep your endpoint aegis tool updated: Make sure you have a reliable antivirus. Aegis companies are consistently afterlight their malware signatures to spot and block new strains of malware that are actualization every day. Most accepted antimalware tools also accommodate web and email aegis and can help you in spotting phishing emails.
  • Promote the aegis culture: Share these tips with your colleagues and coworkers. Like the coronavirus, aegis is also a team effort. A single absent-minded person can accommodation the aegis and safety of everyone.

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