The pandemic that unfolded in 2020 had a dramatic effect on both businesses and personal lives, from restaurants only providing carryout, curbside, or delivery services to organizations encouraging or directing their employees to work from home. In addition, many business trips have been canceled or postponed, creating huge changes in both the economy and how individuals perform their work duties.
One benefit of working in a connected economy is the ability to maintain some business operations remotely. However, this also provides a greater opportunity for cybercriminals. The COVID-19 outbreak reshaped U.S. Department of Health & Human Services HIPAA sanctions and enforcement discretion in 2020, which topped IT security trends, alongside ransomware and data breaches, according to HealthITSecurity.com. BKD Cyber continues to be your trusted advisor during this time. Here are some cyber hygiene recommendations you should be especially aware of during this time:
- Beware of Suspicious Emails: As most of us are already inundated with emails from many organizations ranging from travel and restaurants to even their own workplace, malicious actors have sent out information claiming they know what to do during the COVID-19 pandemic. Be wary of emails from senders you don’t recognize. Don’t click on links or download anything from those emails.
- Verify Emails: If an email gives you instructions on what to do, verify it’s legitimate. Hover your mouse over the return address to make sure it’s from a source you recognize, as in the example below. If it’s not, it’s likely one you shouldn’t open.
- Be Aware of Phone Calls & Texts: Working remotely may require that employees increase use of mobile phones. There are many pretext calling techniques cybercriminals use to attempt to gather personal or business-related information. If you don’t recognize the number that appears, let it go to voicemail. The same goes for text messages—just ignore if you don’t know the number and don’t provide personal information over text.
- Social Media Posts: During times of crisis, people will use social media to report their status, as well as communicate with others. Social media platforms can be an effective communication tool; however, malicious actors can use information on social media to take advantage of the situation. Adjust the privacy settings that many social media platforms offer to control who sees your content. You also can limit your communications to only your friends or your network. Be wary of anyone you don’t know trying to connect with you. Also, be aware that they may use elements of emotion to get you to respond to them. For example, someone could pose as a person in crisis, asking for money or donations.
- Stay in Contact with Those You Know: While staying wary of cybercriminals, do keep in contact with your friends, families, and co-workers. Share information, especially as you learn of potential scams or social media attacks. Working together, you can help mitigate the potential effect.
COVID-19 has most likely changed the work environment as we know it indefinitely, but we’re here to help with your cybersecurity needs. If you have questions, reach out to your BKD Trusted Advisor™, submit the Contact Us form below, or visit bkdcyber.com. In addition, follow us on Twitter @BKDAdvisory or visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for the latest on COVID-19 services.