How Aussie Companies Can Identify & Deter COVID-19 Hacker Scams
Digital thieves are leveraging the COVID-19 crisis to trick Australians into taking the bait. This information highlights scams and how to avoid getting hacked.
With the COVID-19 crisis escalating in Sydney and across Australia, good people are doing their very best to combat the virus’ spread. But another contagion shows rising infection rates online. Hackers are preying on fear and disruption by launching an unprecedented number of malicious websites and COVID-19 scams.
Hackers have added insult to injury by putting hard-working Australians at risk in cyberspace. To prevent these disgraceful cybercriminals from breaching devices and business networks, the determined cybersecurity team at Sydney Technology Solutions offer the following information and ways you can avoid falling victim to their trickery.
Emerging Coronavirus Scams
Since the outbreak was reported, a surge in coronavirus and COVID-19 domains has been reported. According to resources such as ZD Net, upwards of 3,600 potentially malicious websites were activated from March 14-18. Other cybersecurity research uncovered as many as 17,000 websites launched daily.
While some are providing legitimate information during these troubling times, as many as nine out of 10 were scams. Many peddle phony vaccines, overnight test kits, and immune system boosters, among others. What they are doling out is misery. These are conventional methods that digital bandits are employing.
- Phishing Emails: Dark web markets are reportedly using email scams that promote testing kits. These scam emails often target COVID-19 hot spots and areas that are ramping up quarantines and social distancing guidelines. As the greater Sydney area increases health mandates, hackers will continue to consider individuals and business networks high-value targets. Do not open COVID-19 emails or click on links.
- Text Messaging: Cybercriminals will utilise any electronic communication available to leverage fear and uncertainty during the health emergency. Gathering cell phone numbers remains a relatively easy task for digital con artists. If you receive what appears to be an important update or breaking news text, the link may be tainted. Once you click on it, malicious software could download into your device, seize control of valuable data, and lock businesses out of their networks.
- Social Media: Approximately 72 percent of the Australian population accesses social media for upwards of 1.75 hours each day. That’s why cybercriminals are pouring fake news and advertisements into these platforms. Users would be wise to be wary of COVID-19 investment scams, product marketing, and anything that tries to entice you to click on a link.
Hackers are currently retooling their typical schemes to manipulate everyday Aussies into believing these communications offer some form of relief. The best defence against being scammed may be to practice tried-and-true cybersecurity measures.
How To Defend Against COVID-19 Scam Attacks
Although criminals may want to steal your valuable data or hijack your network with ransomware, our managed IT cybersecurity professionals offer these solutions.
- Ignore emails, online advertisements, apps, and posts that claim to have a COVID-19 cure
- Do not click on links or open emails that offer test kits
- Do not attempt to make online purchases related to COVID-19 cleaning products, investments, or any enticement
- Do not visit coronavirus websites for information. Visit only the World Health Organization, Australia Department of Health, or previously vetted local news outlets.
While these well-established cybersecurity protocols can deter frequent cyber attacks, organisations must take more proactive measures. Business leaders would be wise to beef up defences for remote workforces to prevent network incursions. These are enterprise-level measures that could prove invaluable.
- Set up Virtual Private Networks
- Secure endpoint devices
- Have Wi-Fi connections professionally secured
- Reset employee passwords
- Backup data to external hard drives daily
- Install business-grade antivirus software and firewalls on remote access devices
As a leading managed IT and cybersecurity firm, Sydney Technology Solutions delivers determined problem solving and thought leadership. We are prepared to help your organisation overcome COVID-19 disruption.