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Protecting Your Business from COVID-19 Scams

Oct 20, 2020 10:18:14 AM

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed a shift in the narrative of malicious actors. Over the last few months, hackers have targeted people through the COVID-19 pandemic. Alarm companies, and those within the security industry are no exception. 

What Scams Look Like

These scams have made cybercriminals $26 billion in the last five years alone, costing small-to-mid-sized businesses upwards of $3 million to recover from. It is important to know what these scams look like, so that prevention can be even more effective.

With alarm monitoring companies and individuals within the security industry being targeted, DHS reports that cyber actors have been sending emails with malicious attachments or links. Programs installed and ran from these emails could take control of your computer or prompt you to enter personal data while it records every stroke of your keyboard. By clicking on a malicious link, it could prompt you to log in to a very legitimate-looking website. Once you enter your data, these cyber actors can then take control. 

Further, these hackers have been taking advantage of people's generosity. They have been known to pose as COVID-19 charities, government relief programs, and recently, new job opportunities amidst the rebounding economy. If you or your alarm company receives an email regarding COVID, be sure to exercise extreme caution.

How to Minimize Risk

The best way to reduce risk is to educate yourself and your employees. Ensure that your employees are aware of what’s happening. Don’t click around on any suspicious emails or links, especially if they are unsolicited. In addition, be wary of any calls, texts, or social media in correlation to the virus, as email is not the only place that these malicious actors lurk.

Other popular schemes have been the impersonation of the World Health Organization, which contained an attached document claiming to offer safety measures for preventing infection. Users that clicked the link were redirected to a phishing website asking to input personal information. Scams like these aid in viewing cybercriminals attempting to capitalizing on important roles amidst the panic from COVID.

Further Steps You Can Take

Now that you know what to look out for, how can you keep your alarm monitoring company or other business safe? We have compiled a list of suggestions to keep you safe. Follow these to minimize your cyber risks.

  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments. See Using Caution with Email Attachments and Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Scams for more information.
  • Use trusted sources — such as legitimate government websites for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19.
  • Double check all website URLs and email addresses to ensure legitimate spellings and safe links. 
  • Never input or reveal personal data or financial information unless you have verified the website or program. Most legitimate organizations will never require you to send this information via email. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Keep everything up-to-date on your hardware and software. Try to visit only trustworthy websites, and maintain a clean inbox. 
  • Keep strong, random passwords stored in a safe location. Keep work and personal account separated with different passwords. Further, enable two-factor authentication wherever possible. This requires a multi-step login on new devices that adds additional protection.

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