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Cyber warning: surge in cyber attacks due to COVID-19 outbreak

April 06, 2020

In the context of the global Coronavirus pandemic, there is a sudden change in the way we work and exchange information. Companies and end-users that have never used videoconferencing systems before are holding virtual meetings every day and collaborating with colleagues and clients only in the cyberspace. This abrupt change of behavior is unprecedented, prividing an opportunity for cyber criminals to wage varied cyber attacks.

The most common technique cyber criminals employ to deliver malware to end-users is social engineering. During the pandemic, hackers are sending malware through emails impersonating the World Health Organization (WHO) or similar authoritative health organizations. The attachments or links on those emails may be malicious, attempting to retrieve personal information.

The key to deflect from such ill-intended attempts is to train employees on social engineering topics, including: how to spot the most common indicators of a social engineering attack, and what course of action to follow when spotting a social engineering attack (forwarding the email to the designated security team and deleting and blocking such emails).

For end users to keep safe from cyber-attacks, we suggest enterprises implement the following latest recommendations from the reputable SANS Institute:

HOME NETWORK

  • Key steps to securing your home network, starting with your Wi-Fi device:

    • Seamlessly migrating to highly resilient and long-term security solutions which are built to adhere to industry standards

    • Migrating closed end-of-lifeniches to new and open ecosystems

    • Optimizing the offered services and features

PASSWORDS

  • How to use passwords safely and securely?

Use unique passphrase for every account. In this way if one passphrase is compromised, all of your other accounts are still safe. If you cannot remember all the passphrases, use a password manager app (e.g. TrueKey by McAfee).

UPDATES

  • How to make sure you are always using the latest and most current systems, applications and mobile apps?

Cyber attackers are constantly looking for new vulnerabilities in the software your devices use. By allowing your computers and mobile devices to install the latest updates, you make it much harder for someone to hack you. This rule applies to all your devices that are connected to the Internet.

FAMILY / GUESTS

  • How to handle family and guests for work-related devices and activities?

Make sure your family and friends understand they cannot use your work devices as they can accidentally erase or modify information or even open them up to vulnerabilities.

SOCIAL ENGINEERING

  • How to spot and stop social engineering attacks?

If they want your password, work data or control of your computer, they will attempt to trick you into giving it to them, often by creating a sense of urgency. Think before you click.

Since “work from home” requires more conference calls, we suggest you use secure applications from trusted vendors. Cisco Webex is the leading enterprise solution for video conferencing, online meetings, screen share, and webinars with highly secure web meetings from the Cisco Webex cloud.

As a certified Cisco Partner, Novus is able to generate free 90-day Webex licenses for organizations with 20+ employees, to meet the surge in demand for remote work. The free licenses support up to 100 participants and offer unlimited usage with no time restrictions.

If you and organization would benefit from using the Cisco Webex services, contact our office today and ask for your free 90-day license.

Trendelina QERIMI
Sales Consultant
[email protected]

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