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COVID-19 brings phishing scam threats to businesses

Email-based attacks, or phishing, is increasingly hitting businesses as criminals are exploiting the coronavirus outbreak to hit people working from home.

Cybercriminals are seeing opportunities to hit businesses, playing on the anxieties of employees working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and firms are encouraged to not let their guard down.

Piers Wilson, Head of Product Management at Huntsman Security talks about phishing

Piers Wilson, Head of Product Management at Huntsman Security

Piers Wilson, Head of Product Management at Huntsman Security, told IBS Intelligence that people must watch out for phishing emails, as the number of these will only increase.

“While home working may be a flexible way of working, it is not without its security challenges. Exchanging and accessing data on file stores etc. may mean increased adoption of a cloud-based system and without controls, this might be risky.

“There is also a danger that companies adopt short term measures for remote file access/sharing without secreting them properly. In the current situation, you can’t just dump a project folder onto Dropbox and carry on as normal.”

Cyber Risk Aware, a cybersecurity awareness training provider, has also seen a massive spike in phishing scams and has, as a result, launched a campaign to offer free phishing tests.

The company said a time of crisis could be a haven for others, with hackers capitalising on the fears and vulnerabilities. Scams include coronavirus lures, spoof government tax refunds and numerous fearmongering messages, encouraging click-throughs that could reveal personal data or bring whole IT system networks down.

“The recent Czech Hospital cyber-attack saw an entire hospital shut down as a result of a compromised network with devastating damage at this critical time,” Cyber Risk Aware said.

“With the majority of the workforce now encouraged to work from home, the risk of businesses experiencing a cyber incident is significantly increased. Therefore, it is imperative staff and businesses are prepared and protected from these very present cyber threats as best as possible.”

Wilson added that as well as being aware of the proliferation of these scams, people can improve security through anti-virus updates and patches, which will always be important.

“Ask IT teams on how best to ship large volumes of data around before just dropping it onto a cloud service privately,” he said.

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