Are Your Employees Aware of COVID-19 Cyber Threats?
At this stage in the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s likely that most, if not all, of your employees are well aware of the health risk the novel coronavirus poses to them and their loved ones. And you’re committed to keeping your employees safe and physically healthy — that’s why your organization implemented a remote work policy so quickly as the situation developed.
But COVID-19 isn’t just a public health crisis — it’s also a massive cyber security threat, on a scale never seen before. As your employees attempt to work from home, they’re not just facing the distractions caused by kids who can’t go to school and a spouse who won’t use earbuds during Zoom calls. They’re also feeling bombarded by bleak and unsettling news headlines, and they may be sifting through a number of COVID-19-related malspam emails each day, fielding social engineering attacks from hackers over the phone, and maybe even experiencing the scary Zoom flaw that has allowed hackers to access the meetings and even attend them. You need to make sure employees are extra-vigilant about COVID-19 cyber threats.
Your Company Is Facing Unprecedented Cyber Threats
COVID-19 has been called the world’s largest-ever cyber security threat, thanks to the enormous, and ever-escalating, volume of phishing emails, malware, and other cyber attacks that hackers have launched in its wake. It’s obvious that people are scared and worried about the future. Tensions are running high, and people are feeling distracted as a result. Hackers, cyber criminals, and rogue nation-states alike are taking advantage of the current environment to grab some valuable data and make a quick buck, among other potential goals.
Train Your Employees to Recognize COVID-19-Related Cyber Threats
The upsurge in COVID-19-related cyber attacks means your employees need to be even more vigilant about security than usual, and that’s harder than usual when they’re not safely ensconced behind a firewall in a corporate office setting. Most if not all of your employees may be working from home right now, and they may not be as vigilant about cyber security while working from the sofa simply because they’re not used to being in that mindset while at home. It’s much easier to foster a strong cyber security culture in an office setting than it is when teams are distributed across the map, working from their own homes.
Right now, employees need regular cyber security training and security check-ups more than ever. Train your employees to recognize the most common COVID-19-related cyber attacks, including:
- Phishing emails disguised as government communications, such as the popular WHO announcement phishing scam
- Malware hidden in coronavirus maps, health-related websites, and educational materials
- Mirror sites that mimic official organizations, like the CDC, to solicit donations
- Phishing emails and malware disguised as job applications, shipping invoices, receipts, and news updates on supply chain developments
- Phishing emails purporting to offer a secret cure for the virus, though no such treatment exists
In addition to regular updates on the evolution of COVID-19-related malware, train employees regularly on how to avoid malware and social engineering attacks, and what to do if they fall victim through a momentary lapse in judgment.
Implement Security Solutions to Protect Your Data
Many people are working from home on their own devices right now, which may be the best solution in terms of cost and convenience for your organization, but it’s far from the best solution in terms of security. If possible, give employees company-issued devices that they can use only for work, and which are equipped with a comprehensive endpoint solution like the one found here: https://www.trendmicro.com/en_us/business/products/user-protection/sps/endpoint.html
Make sure that employees get regular security check-ups with IT to make sure their security software is optimized and that system software and security software has all been updated to the latest version. IT should take the time to work with employees to help them understand and optimize their device and network security, and to check for risky behaviors that employees may be inadvertently engaging in.
COVID-19 threatens the health and safety of your employees, without whom you wouldn’t have much of a company. But it also brings heightened cybersecurity risks, and hackers are taking advantage of companies’ distraction right now to breach defenses. Educate your employees about the risks, and continue to nurture a strong cyber security culture, even as your employees continue to work from home.
We hope you enjoyed this promoted piece as much as we did!