With more people staying at home due to COVID-19, working from home, online shopping other online activities have become more frequent. However, as we avoid the dangers brought about by the virus, a different kind of danger awaits us online.
Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the pandemic, pretending to be representatives of reputable organizations, and disabling social security sites. While cybersecurity threats are nothing new, the overall effect is even more sinister if you consider that many people are facing unstable economic conditions.
It’s as good a time as ever to refresh ourselves on some of the strategies hackers use to exploit online vulnerabilities.
Phishing for information
The concept is simple. Hackers will craft a bogus email or online message where they essentially ask users to donate to a worthy charitable cause or help someone in need. The centerpiece of this cyberattack is a call to action that encourages people to share personal details about themselves (e.g. bank account, names of family members).
It may be that you are well versed in phishsing strategies. But according to data from CSO, about $17,000 is lost every minute due to phishing, which accounts for over 80% of cyberattacks. Clearly, a lot of individuals and businesses are being taken in.
While phishing is easy to spot and avoid most of the time, experienced hackers can create messages that look and feel legitimate.
Infecting devices with malware
Hackers can also create malicious programs that can infiltrate various systems. They come in many forms (viruses, trojan horses, spyware) and are usually downloaded from shady websites. Regardless of what type of malware it is, the main goal is to carry out unauthorized access and modifications within your devices.
Through malware, hackers can get a hold of your financial information, bank records, passwords in various accounts, and services.
Infiltrating vulnerable Wi-Fi networks
If you think you’re safe surfing the internet at home, then you’re in for a big disappointment. Hackers can access your Wi-Fi from long distances. They can exploit non-encrypted Wi-Fi networks and infiltrate your devices through this channel. Skilled cybercriminals can even get through good encryption measures.
How can you defend yourself against these online threats?
The moment an email or other online message suggests the idea of extracting a tiny bit of information from you and it’s not from a verified or reputable source, walk away from it. In addition, many phishing attacks could be activated simply by a click so be extremely vigilant.
With malware, there is a host of options at your disposal, from using a vulnerability management tracking tool to protect your business to installing the latest software security updates to keep your devices clear of malware. They key thing to make sure your devices continue to receive cybersecurity support and that you stay away from questionable websites.
With your home Wi-Fi, following your router’s instructions on how to activate encryption is a way to heighten security. However, to be extra secure, consult with your internet service provider on the best approach to keep your network inaccessible to cybercriminals.
Erring on Safety
During these times, when there is a greater reliance on online activity, it’s best to err on the side of caution and overprepare to protect yourself online. When the world returns to a more normal situation after the pandemic, the extra vigilance we have to practise now will go some way to combatting the ever growing threat to our cybersecurity.