Photo by Ryan Humphries of Humphries Photography

I know you’re stressed and feeling enormous tension to down-size any aspect of the business that is not absolutely essential right now. But cybercriminals are likely to exploit the pandemic over the next several months and IT security should be at the top of the “critical” list for your business, especially now that the implementation of cloud computing solutions has been dramatically accelerated by coronavirus.

Cybercriminals everywhere are targeting small and medium-size businesses while they transition to a work from home workforce and deal with operational issues that need immediate attention. Be on HIGH ALERT for phishing scams and emails requesting sensitive information as we have already received several reports from San Antonio businesses that have been targeted using the COVID-19 health crisis.

 

Hackers Aren’t Taking Time Off!
Right now, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the confusion surrounding disaster relief funding now available in response to the coronavirus pandemic. While most of us are stunned in fear wondering how bad the effects of the current global health disaster are going to affect our family, friends, business, and community. Cybercriminals see this as a golden opportunity to trick hard-working people who are just trying to stay informed so they can protect themselves and everyone around them (people like you and me) into clicking on a bad link and downloading their malware.

Your Network Security Is Critical During A Crisis – Especially When Working From Home.
Now more than ever is the time to be taking every precaution to protect your revenue and cash flow so you can remain profitable during this crisis. A huge part of that is making sure that your network security is working just as hard as the hackers are. Most hackers know that businesses will try to reduce their IT security in an attempt to “reduce costs” leaving them open and vulnerable to attack. If you compromise on IT security, I can practically guarantee this will be a far more costly, disruptive and devastating attack that will happen to your business.

Why? Because Cybercrime Is A Multi-Trillion Dollar-A-Year Industry.
Cybercrime is a real problem and San Antonio business owners are finally starting to take it seriously. It’s not illegal in all countries nor is it as hard to do as you may think it is. Long are the days when you had to be some kind of coding mastermind hacker evil genius, now an aspiring cybercriminal can just pay for nefarious tools sold by other villains on the dark web. These days, hackers can buy a curated list of emails and hacker tools on the dark web that will deploy phishing emails for them and automate response emails to drive the victim to take the bait. They will also gain access to your network and use software to constantly monitor your activity for opportunities to spear phish you. For example, if they see you making any type of wire transfers or deposits, they might create a spear-phishing email just for you. Now that we’re all looking to stay ahead of the next important coronavirus development that will surely impact every aspect of our lives and disrupt the recovery process, hackers are circling, and they can smell blood.

 

Coronavirus Scams And How To Avoid Them

Don’t fall for the misconception that you can afford to sacrifice even one layer of your IT security protection during these uncertain times. The scary truth is, hackers are working OVERTIME to take advantage of every opportunity to target businesses in the fog of COVID-19. To help you fight back, here’s 3 coronavirus scams and how to avoid them:

 

  1. Phishing Emails About Economic Stimulus Programs - Be suspicious of any emails claiming to have links to economic stimulus programs like the Paycheck Protection Program or SBA loan or grant. To apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, you need to speak to a loan officer at your financial institution that offers 7a loans, so you will not be getting any legitimate emails to apply for this program. And according to sba.gov “SBA does not initiate contact on either 7a or Disaster loans or grants. If you are proactively contacted by someone claiming to be from the SBA, suspect fraud.”

If you suspect that you have received a phishing email, there are a few things you can check to make sure that it’s really coming from who it says it’s coming from. The first thing you want to check is the email address of the sender, cybercriminals can create an email address that is just one letter off to fool you, but it is very difficult to copy an email address exactly. Another thing you want to make sure to watch out for is typos and bad grammar, a lot of the times hackers are from other nations and don’t have the best English writing skills. Lastly, hover over all of the links to see the url it wants to send you to and always be cautious when they are giving you a sense of urgency.

 

  1. Phishing Emails With “Important” Coronavirus information - The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a warning on March 6, 2020 that warns individuals to “use trusted sources – such as legitimate, government websites – for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19”. Look out for emails that are claiming to have links to critical updates and resources you “need” to help your business stay on top of health changes that will impact your business operations. Hackers may even fake sender information to make an email look like it’s coming from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Only open emails from trusted contacts and remember to always check the legitimacy of the sender’s email address and destination of the links in the email. Even then, you should visit the website directly to access the information if possible or at the very least search google for the claims made in the email. If it looks suspicious, PLEASE DO NOT OPEN IT. Forward it to your IT team and have them check it out for you.

 

  1. Social Engineering Emails About Donations to Charity – Cybercriminals will masquerade as trusted entities. Be wary of any request for donations to charities that involve COVID-19. First, verify the authenticity of the charity by looking up the charity you care about online and read reviews from a trusted sources. You can also make another search for the charity and add the word “scam” to your search and see what comes up in the search results.

You should never divulge sensitive information to anyone in an email. Don’t let hackers take advantage of your curiosity, concern and empathy surrounding COVID-19 to persuade you to click on a link, download an app, open a document or lead you to a phishing website.

 

Stay on alert and exercise caution whenever you see an email with COVID-19 or Coronavirus in the subject line, attachment, or hyperlink. Take proactive steps to protect yourself. Don’t let your guard down on social media as it’s often used by hackers to trick victims into clicking on malicious links to dangerous websites.

 

If you’re not sure if your systems are protected, we’ll give you a FREE security assessment to make sure that you, your employees, and your company’s private data are secure. To request your Free Cybersecurity Audit call (210) 245-6900 or schedule online today: https://www.juerntech.com/cyberaudit/