Cyber Crime is on the Rise in the Work From Home Era, so what can you do to protect your company and your employees?

Due to COVID-19 causing all 50 states to initiate Emergency Declarations and/or a Stay at home order, many workers have begun working from home. Stimulus checks, COVID-19 updates, e-Learning, unemployment benefit changes, and CARES PPP Act information are all things of great interest to many Americans. As such, people are consuming information about these topics at a rapid pace and the cyber criminals know it.

There has been a large surge in Cyber Crime activity (source: FBI alert I-040120-PSA) and it is expected to continue in the near future. You need to protect yourself, your employees, and your business from these attacks.

The good news… these tricks are not new and, with a little education and awareness, they can be avoided.

Phishing Emails

Phishing emails look real. That is the point. They are often mimicking a vendor you already have a relationship with like your bank, Amazon, eBay, Paypal, etc.  Phishing emails of the past have used improper English and were not formatted correctly. No more. Many cyber criminals have made these emails look exactly like the “real” ones and are able to execute Cyber Crimes at an alarming pace.

So how do you protect yourself?

First, some common sense:

  • Your bank will never ask you to “verify details of your account by logging in with a link,” for example. Do not use the links in the email! Assume that the links provided are fake. Open a new browser and go to the site directly to log in.
  • No system administrator will ask for your password.
  • You can always check the status of an order by going directly to the website!

Second, some training:

  • Since the bad guys get better every year, consider ongoing “simulated phishing” testing.
  • Get anti-spam filtering that helps prevent many of these emails from getting to you (NOTE: No system is perfect)

Phone Phishing Scams

Similar to email Phishing, Phone Phishing is when a cyber criminal calls you attempting to get information or money from you. The very same tricks that are used in emails are also utilized over the phone. Some of the more common phone scams:

  • IRS refund or audit asking for a bank account number
  • Microsoft – “updates needed,” “problem found,” or “virus found”
  • Apple – “updates needed,” “problem found” or “virus found”
  • Grant Award
  • Auto-Warranty expiration Scam
  • Student Loan refinance Scam
  • Health Insurance offer
  • Police demanding you pay an immediate bail for a family member

To minimize your risk of being a victim of a Cyber Crime, consider adding an app to your smart phone such as Nomorobo or RoboKiller

If you receive one of these calls, be cautious. Feel free to hang up and contact the party directly.

Consider implementing Cyber Security Training for your business.

Email Compromise / Business Email Compromise = Cyber Crime

When a cyber criminal figures out your email password, they can cause a large amount of damage.

That puts you in a troublesome position.

Every password you have on the internet MUST be unique. The Cyber Criminals are more organized than ever and they publish directories of known logins and passwords on the Dark Web and they sell them to other Cyber Criminals. Collectively they are using this “library” of passwords to try to hack into other sites such as email, banking accounts, shopping accounts, etc.. The goal is simple, THEFT.

If you have not had a Dark Web Scan done for yourself or your business, contact your IT Provider (or email us and we will be happy to do a complimentary one for your business). Use that list to identify which passwords are “no good” anymore and make sure you change them.

Bonus – enable multi-factor authentication (otherwise known as MFA of 2FA) for any critical accounts. This is the trend for all security ongoing, as passwords alone are too easy to defeat.

Remote Meeting Tools and e-Learning

There are many tools for remote meetings. Some of the more popular are Cisco WebEx, Zoom, Google MeeetUps and Microsoft Teams – but there are many others.

There has been a lot of bad press about Zoom lately. Zoom has soared into popularity due to the relative simplicity and low cost (free during COVID-19 for small groups).

All of these tools share some of the same concerns, but the tool itself is usually not to blame for the problems. Here are some common sense tips for conducting a Remote Meeting:

  1. Be sure to use a physical privacy cover on your web camera. This way, you control when the video is displayed.
  2. If you are creating a meeting
    • require a password
    • mute participants on entry
  3. If the meeting application asks you to update it, update it. These updates are often to resolve any new security concerns.
  4. Only send invites to those needing access.

Home Computer Vulnerabilities

Businesses tend to have systems in place to force security updates, replace old hardware before it becomes a risk, and other processes to protect their computers. Home users, however, tend to take a more hands off attitude and keep their computer until it dies (or hand it down to the kids when they get a new one). This is a great opportunity for cyber criminals to act.

When the fundamentals of security are neglected, that puts you at serious risk for Cyber Crime. Not just for your work computer but for ALL computers on your home network. The one computer which is neglected is your weakest link.

  1. Maintenance is needed. Security updates, in particular.
  2. REAL Antivirus is a must. Some ISPs (such as Comcast) provide you home use licenses for free. Get it and install it.
  3. Firewalls are needed. Windows 10 has one built in, but one protecting the house “as a whole” is best.
  4. Backup your data.
  5. Passwords are required on your home computer when you start up.

PCS International: The Good IT Service Provider

If you have noticed any of these problems with Cyber Security, it is time to get serious about a strategy and provide training for your team. Training programs can be implemented in less than 24 hours and are very affordable.

Contact PCS International to learn more about our IT support. Our extensive knowledge and professionalism will help your company thrive. We’ll always keep you in the loop, and we’re here to answer your questions around the clock.