NY Remote Workforces Need Advanced COVID-19 Cybersecurity Now!
Working from home can cure business and educational disruption during the pandemic. But remote users must remain vigilant about COVID-19 hacking schemes.
New Yorkers are suffering one of the world’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks, and decisive leaders have shifted to work-from-home capabilities to keep people safe and organizations operational. But such leadership has, unfortunately, come with a heightened risk.
For every employee that accesses an organization via the Cloud, hackers see a potential security gap. These digital burglars have launched schemes designed to prey on the fears of hard-working people. Cybercriminals appear to be banking on the fact the first-time remote access personnel will not have the necessary training or cybersecurity defenses in place to deter a data breach. In these troubling times, organizations in every sector must exercise hyper-vigilance to stay out of harm’s way from the virus and hackers.
COVID-19 Cybersecurity Threats
Early research indicates that cybercriminals promptly began rolling out coronavirus-themed websites and email scams, also known as “phishing.” The initial strategy appears to be to follow the outbreaks and flood unsuspecting people with enticements. Some included COVID-19 testing kits, potential cures, and phony direct emails that mirrored well-known health organizations.
Every day people were targeted for credit card numbers, personal identification information, and bank accounts, among others. The shift to remote workforces and online learning created a cybersecurity gap to breach networks by opportunistic hackers. According to a CheckPoint Threat Intelligence research study, more than 4,000 coronavirus-themed domains have been registered since January, and they are reportedly 50 percent more likely to be laced with malicious software. These are emerging COVID-19 malware attacks surfacing from websites and email scams.
- CDC Alert: A direct email pretending to be from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plays on fear stating that the coronavirus has gone airborne in your area.
- News Alerts: Cybercriminals are sending out news alert links about COVID-19 in targeted areas. These may appear to originate from a local media outlet.
- Health Advice Emails: Those previous spam emails about health and fitness may now be a vehicle to deliver a malicious link.
- Workplaces Emails: Hackers are masking malicious emails to look like they were sent from your organization. Be wary of opening them if you do not recognize the sender and never click on an embedded link.
- Stimulus Checks: Ranked among the most despicable efforts by hackers, malicious emails, and online posts have been circulating about COVID-19 stimulus checks. These aim to steal from you as you await financial relief.
The COVID-19 scam websites often require you to provide personal or financial information. Once you input data and click a link, a malicious application spies, pilfers off data, or seizes control of the network.
Best Practices for Remote Work & Learning
It may come as something of a surprise. Still, some of the least prepared industries to pivot to work-from-home practices include government, banking, insurance, healthcare, education, and the legal field, among others. The conventional wisdom tended to be that in-house networks and workstations provided enhanced cybersecurity. Although that is no longer necessarily true, shifting to a Cloud-based system now requires new protocols. These rank among the best practices when working remotely.
- Conduct an inventory of applications
- Remove unsecured applications
- Update antivirus software and firewall protection
- Only download applications from secure Apple App Store or Google Play
- Set up preferred Virtual Private Network (VPN)
- Test VPN with IT cybersecurity professional
- Set up Microsoft Teams or applicable remote workforce platform
- Work with managed IT professional to set network privileges and permissions
Until the COVID-19 crisis wanes, remote workforces and learning will be standard practice. Given the surge in Cloud-based networks, work-from-anywhere trends, and potential for disruption, don’t be surprised if the pandemic ushers in a new live-work paradigm going forward.
If your organization needs to promptly increase remote capabilities to remain productive during the health crisis, the experienced professionals at LI Tech Advisors provide prompt IT services. We are ready to get your organization up and running and deliver enhanced cybersecurity to keep your network and valued team members safe. Contact us at 631-203-6359 for immediate assistance or to schedule your complimentary initial consultation.