Staying Safe Online While Working From Home

Staying Safe Online Whilst Working From Home

As home working advances in response to COVID-19, there are growing concerns regarding cyber-attacks. The  Pandemic has radically changed the way many workers are accessing corporate and highly sensitive data. While many businesses have been utilizing remote working for a while and have the appropriate infrastructure to support their remote workers, others had to adapt swiftly. This global impact presents fresh opportunities for malicious con artists, as new targets are emerging daily. There are already several cases related to Coronavirus hacking that have been published. With this dramatic rise in cybercriminals taking advantage of this situation, we want to ensure that you are staying safe online whilst working from home. 

Malicious Emails

Never, ever click on links communicated to you, which you weren’t anticipating!

You need to be watchful of any messages that attempt to lure you into clicking links, downloading records, or supplying information like your usernames or passwords.  If you receive an email from large corporations such as Microsoft, Amazon, or Apple, your initial response might be to trust the source entirely.  Cybercriminals recognize the psychological science of trust and attempt to exploit this vulnerability through their phishing cons.

Lately, the attackers are adopting COVID-19 themed phishing communications and emails that purport to present the official reports and news on the virus, only to tempt users to click on malicious links. If you were to click on a link in a fraudster’s email, then your computer or laptop and data therein could be at significant risk. 

Fake Websites

Another profound risk arises from fake websites that are often used in combination with phishing attacks. These have been around for some time, however lately, fraudsters have been utilizing these by disguising as legitimate information for COVID-19. For instance, there have been reports of sites such as live maps for Coronavirus cases,  amongst other bogus examples. When users are to click through these fake sites, their devices are at risk of being infected with malware. Commonly, fake websites will either attempt to trick you into revealing personal data, such as your login details or financial information. They might also impersonate reputable organizations in an attempt to secure payments for goods or services that are fake or do not exist.

It is essential to be vigilant when accessing any website. For official news and information on Coronavirus, you should always visit local government websites. In other situations, a good starting point is to look out for the lock icon – when you visit a genuine website, you will see a lock icon to the left-hand side of the URL. This icon assures that your information on this site is secure. If a site URL does not have the lock icon, be cautious before you enter any personal data. 

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware which obstructs the user’s access to their files by holding data to ransom by encryption or by locking users out of their devices. It is therefore important to keep your systems, backed up, updated and patch them routinely. 

Spyware

As the name implies, spyware is the undercover agent of malware (malicious software). It is a program that covertly monitors your patterns and registers what you do on your devices, usually with an intent to acquire confidential information. 

Multi-layered anti-spyware defense processes should protect your information sufficiently; however, critical attention should be paid to the remote workers that might not necessarily receive all the relevant anti-spyware and other software updates.

Viruses

Viruses are intended to self-spread from one computer program to another, which they do by imitating themselves. Viruses are frequently disguised as attachments of images, audio, and video files. They can also be stored in pirated software or files that you might download through the Internet. There are some common signs of a computer virus, such as your computer being unusually slow or crashing suddenly; you could also encounter unfamiliar programs and pop-ups emerging, or your accounts being used without your awareness.  Some more advanced viruses, however, can run low key, and you could be none the wiser. They can also lie dormant and be activated by a particular action, such as running a specific program.

Detecting and removing a computer virus can provide challenges without  appropriate malicious software removal tools. If you believe that your computer is infected, you might have to contact an IT professional.

Password Attacks

Passwords remain the most common way to permit access to our systems, which is why they are worth their weight in gold to cybercriminals.

There are a number of ways hackers get your passwords, such as attempting to enter common passwords to access your accounts. Others adopt Brute-force, this occurs when the hackers use randomly generated passwords to attempt access. Computer programmes can make hundreds of attempts per minute. Hackers will sometimes also apply logic and try to guess your password using the information they have obtained about you from sources such as the social media. 

There are many methods to stop or prevent password attacks, with the most obvious being an adoption of a strong password policy. 

Key messages from The Millennium Group Tech Team:

  1. Keep your work and personal devices separate. 
  2. Be wary of questionable links and files.
  3. Use strong passwords.
  4.  Enable two-factor authentication.
  5.  Keep your applications and software updated.
  6. Only use the official App stores to download Apps.
  7. Disable cameras and microphones when not in use.
  8. Back up your data regularly.

If you are concerned about the security of your remote access solutions, contact us for a consultation today.