COVID-19: Look Out for the Fraudsters

COVID-19: Look Out for the Fraudsters

As soon as there was a cyberworld, there came the cybercriminals. Their strategies differ but the goals are usually to steal information or encrypt devices for ransom. The COVID-19 crisis has done nothing to slow down these attacks. In fact, they’re on a sharp rise, and with a large portion of the workforce’s attentive divided between work, children and household needs, these bad actors are trying even harder to exploit the situation.

Here are 5 steps you can take to help your employees thwart cyberattacks:

  1. Know where you may be attacked. Many if not all your employees are working from home, making for more points cybercriminals may attempt to exploit. Consult with your IT security staff to identify these areas and start prioritizing protection for sensitive data and applications.
  • Best practices are still in effect. Treat all your company-owned devices the same regardless of their physical location. That means the level of security, including security software (antivirus, VPN, etc.) should be kept up to date. Employees must continue to use complex passwords, biometrics, and multi-factor authentication as they would if they were in the office.
  • Be loud and clear on policy. Communicate your rules on cybersecurity to your staff and instruct them on the practices you expect of them while working from home. Especially important – emphasize the need to report any suspicious activity as soon as possible. Your IT personnel are likely to be spread very thin during COVID-19; they will need extra help to prioritize possible threats.
  • Stay aware of scams. There’s a virtual plague of COVID-19 related phishing scams, fake domains, and other tricks all trying to exploit the crisis to their advantage. Keep yourself current on these techniques and pass that information on to your employees.
  • Use company equipment. You have control over company-owned devices which means you can keep them as protected with the best security software and more. As diligent as your staff may be, there’s no guarantee that their personal devices will have the level of protection they need. If employees must use personal devices, consider altering your policies, at least on a temporary basis during COVID-19, regarding access to sensitive data.

I was recently quoted in RealLeaders magazine with tips to handle a remote workforce in a crisis—see if any of this helps you:

“As CEO of an international agency we piloted and pioneered a remote workforce 5 years ago, so many of the issues our clients and colleagues are presently experiencing, we are not. In times of crisis, a leader has to keep his/her team “in the present,” and that can be very hard to do without major structure and a strict production demand. I have developed a Crisis Org Board, outlining what “hat” each person will wear. Once everyone knows their “crisis role” we then determine what the major production will be for the business and how to go about it.  We don’t use the crisis to sit back and wait to be told what to do, we use it to proactively take action and keep our people industrious and helping others. We help the media tell real-time stories with data from our clients, so our purpose is to help get news out to millions of people. Giving our team a strong purpose keeps them in the moment.”

Crisis Is Our Wheelhouse. Working remotely is business as usual for us. We haven’t hit pause on anything. In fact, we’re going 24/7 right now, still getting out the news that will help people and our clients through this difficult time. We’ve got this. Do you?

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