Our global team spends a lot of time online and our IT team keeps us (and our users) safe. We’re sharing this message they sent out with you because the last thing anyone needs right now, is to fall victim to an internet scam or cyber infection….Be sure to also check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our online security tips for COVID-19.

Where people go, hackers will follow.  Hackers often use multiple steps to build false trust before exploiting that trust. The following bullets include information on how to avoid hackers’ ploys during COVID-19 (and forever!)

1. If you’re using a video conferencing app, make sure your meetings and your personal meeting room have passwords set.  In some cases you may want to delete existing meetings and recreate them with passwords to avoid confusion when the meeting starts.

2. Video conferencing apps have seen a sharp rise in both legitimate and malicious customers. Subdomains are being created for users in record numbers and many of these services allow trusted users to transfer files to other users.  This combination of features has allowed hackers to create contact names and subdomains that look legitimate and trustworthy. If you unknowingly choose to become a contact with a hacker they could later send you bogus communication, malicious files or links.  Be careful with new contacts!  Verify who they are…confirm before you add or communicate!

3. Keep your desktop and mobile apps up to date.  If you are operating on outdated versions, you’re more susceptible to exploits!  On your desktop use the “Check for Updates” feature to stay current.  For mobile, use app store options.

4. Facebook “friending” is increasing as hackers take advantage of our need to contact others during this stressful time.  Beware of bogus Facebook friends (or duplicates that claim they can’t access their old account).  This is a multi-step attack. Hackers may become a friend, create false trust and then exploit that trust later by sharing a malicious link or file.  Verify, verify, verify.

5. Other malicious patterns related to COVID-19 are being actively exploited. Bogus “corona” domains, websites, apps, emails, texts, phone calls, faxes etc. are still on the rise.  Double check and triple check…It’s always better to go directly to the trusted source/site than to use a link forwarded to you in email, text or social media communication.

In general, don’t assume anything new online is safe…assume it is NOT safe and prove that it is safe before clicking, accepting a friend request etc.  Stay strong people….keep yourself, your information and your devices safe!