To practice social distancing in light of COVID-19, and at the behest of their employers, millions of people are working remotely. Dogs and cats have been practicing social distancing for years! It’s great! Virtual environments come with perks, such as eliminating commutes, offering quality time with pets and providing easy access to snacks. I’m all for easy access to snacks in the real world, too. But the shift also begets copious cybersecurity threats. This is noteworthy because data breaches were already on the rise before the pandemic hit. According to a 2019 report, 7.9 billion records were exposed by data breaches in the first nine months of 2019. This figure is more than double (112%) the number of records exposed in the same period in 2018.
Because we care about your safety, we have put together a cybersecurity tip sheet to help you navigate this brave new digital world.
How to Be Safe Online
Beware of phishing scams and malware, both of which are on the rise. Thieves know that business owners and managers are sending an unprecedented number of emails and online requests to members of their workforce during the pandemic. With more relaxed safeguards on employees’ home networks, remote working effectively widens the attack surface for any given organization. To guard against this, encourage employees to update passwords, add two-factor authentication for third-party software subscriptions and avoid opening email attachments unless they feel confident about the origin of the associated email. I guess I’ll have to change my passwords again; so much for using Woof911.
Don’t Trust – Verify
Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran recently fell victim to an email spoofing scam. A cybercriminal impersonated her assistant via email, requesting that Corcoran transfer nearly $400k to an offshore account. Corcoran eventually recovered the funds. But the lesson is to check email addresses and content carefully. The spoofed email was slightly different from that of the spoofed assistant. Pick up the phone if you aren’t sure about the origin of any electronic request. Or take your dog for a walk and visit your colleague in person. Just practice social distancing when you arrive!
Unscrupulous hackers will likely seize on the heightened state of collective fear to plant malicious code on unwitting remote employees’ computers. Viruses, worms and Trojan horses can compromise data stored on a computer. If you’re working from home, make sure your virus software is up to date and you are running the latest version of your operating system, since older platforms tend to be buggier than the most recent iterations. And if the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) send you an email, don’t assume the communication is legitimate. Be cautious before opening attachments. Without opposable thumbs, I find it difficult to open attachments, anyway. Check the associated website to see if the agency in question is communicating directly with the public. In many cases, a simple check will provide important safety information about known scams. If you’re the victim of such a scam, alert officials to help contain the damage.
About the AUS Fire Life Safety Training System
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