Our global team spends a lottt of time online and our IT team keeps us (and our users) safe. We’re sharing their message with you because the last thing anyone needs right now, is to fall victim to an internet scam or cyber infection….

As the number of COVID-19 cases increases, so do the exploits used by hackers to take advantage of the fear and interest that most of us have in this global pandemic.

Some things to be aware of:

1. Thousands of new domain names containing covid, 19, corona and virus have been registered during the last few months. Many of these are being used to pass along viruses, malware, ransomware, bogus products, bad mobile applications and other malicious content. The mentally triggering words in these domain names (and email subject lines) are used to make you react and click without thinking.

Use only trusted sources for information! Safe and current sources include:

The World Health Organization 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The National Institutes of Health

Johns Hopkins University and Medicine

Of course, there are many other legitimate sources of information out there. Just make sure that you’re accessing legitimate URLs and not copycat URLs designed to fool and infect you.  Double check before you click!

2. Many companies have scrambled to transition to a remote workforce. This scramble has created an opportunity for malicious exploits such as:

– Phone calls from someone claiming to be a co-worker (or even a company executive) asking for corporate and employee bank information.

– Malicious messages from people claiming to be an employee/student/teacher with remote access related issues. They may ask for help with access/passwords.

– Fake communication from your employer wanting to ship you a home office setup and needing your address, employee ID or credit card information for delivery.

Always verify someone’s identity before sharing sensitive information.

3. Many restaurants, pharmacies and other services have transitioned away from in-store business to pickup/delivery-only models. Be aware that there can be bogus contacts and websites associated with these services.

Order directly through an official, trusted URL or phone number rather than using details from an email, text or phone call you’ve received.

4. Like the bogus messages you may have gotten from the “IRS” in the past, there are bogus communications coming from health departments, police departments, hospitals and pharmacies right now.  Hackers are causing disruption to the very organizations and services trying to alleviate this situation.  Fear is any hacker’s greatest business asset, so healthcare and other organizations are high on the list for attack attempts.  There was already an attempted hack on U.S. Health and Human Services.  

Don’t believe everything you see, hear or read.  Verify the source or go directly to the source on your own.

These precautions are not that different than they were before COVID-19.  These threats are just increased with fear so, in turn, we need to step up our awareness to stay ahead of it!

Stay aware! Stay safe! Help flatten the curve!