Covid-19. Coronavirus. Cybersecurity.
That is a lot of words beginning with C.
Unfortunately, as the Covid-19 or Coronavirus pandemic sweeps the globe in March 2020, we are also seeing massive increase in cybersecurity threats multiplying as well. While China, Italy, Iran, South Korea and other countries have all been slammed with the pandemic crisis, they have also been slammed with hackers trying to take advantage of the situation.
I have given many speeches around the world about cybersecurity. Anyone who has heard me speak has also undoubtedly heard me talk about cyber hygiene. There are many parallels with healthcare and cybersecurity. One is proper hygiene. If there is any common lesson to everyone around the world, it is the importance of clean hands, not touching your face, using sanitizer or alcohol wipes along with soap and water often. It should not take a pandemic to have to have those basics reinforced.
Same is true for cybersecurity. It should not take a crisis to remind us all to be safe. And that especially during a crisis to be extra careful what we click on, and what our settings look like on the devices and software/apps we use.
On social media there are active groups in facebook and on whatsapp promulgating false and or misleading information on purpose. Sometimes this is to lead you to believe the wrong thing. Sometimes this is cover to steal your data or money or identity.
Oxford University in the UK has created a deep data page for people to learn more in a non political fashion. Stanford University in the US is having a virtual Covid-19 conference on April 1, 2020.
At the same time, the US. CERT is also warning about increased cyber scams, including but not limited to ransomware demands, phishing, increased social engineering attacks and also fake websites portending to sell alchohol wipes, sanitizer or masks, when they really just swipe your info and steal your money and or identity.
However there are other major lurking problems now. It goes way beyond new phishing attempts using “coronavirus”, or “covid-19” in email or social media headers or on fake websites.
We are living through, figuring out and executing on the largest shift in workplace/ school/ demography at any time short of actual kinetic warfare. Suddenly parents are working from home. Kids are doing online learning. We just shifted from a carpool society to an information deluge society in about a week. How many of you are up to this? This is a virtual 9/11 in that suddenly we have to create whole new ways of doing things in a heartbeat.
So that leads me to cybersecurity.
Yourself – creating a safe digital space and cyber hygiene.
- Use a VPN for work even over your home wifi or internet.
- If possible, change the password on your router and or modem to something new.
- Ensure that you are not using any apps or programs contrary to your work policies. Try, if possible to adopt those work policies to home if you can.
- Be extra vigilant for social media scams, fake websites, phishing emails and even phone calls or fake zoom/skype meeting requests.
- Create a secondary email for any e-commerce activities, don’t use your work email ever for that.
Your kids – creating a safe digital space and cyber hygiene.
- Make sure their computers/devices are correctly locked down. Turn off things like geolocation if they do not need it for school. Turn off app notifications and other distractions while they are doing elearning.
- Be extra alert for new social media friend requests, or new patterns in messaging or using online games during the day.
- Help your kids to make sure the settings are correct for their school’s elearning programs.
- Watch what they share and spread on social media. Don’t let your kids be the ones spreading rumors or untruths.
Your parents – creating a safe digital space and cyber hygiene.
- Help them understand difference between actual facts and fake websites or fake social media posts.
- Help them lock down their privacy settings and location information.
- Get them to ask you for help if something weird happens.
- Be extra cautious about new friend requests on social media, email and phone phishing and fake websites.
Digijaks Group, LLC is deeply involved with the digital aspects of crisis response for over a decade. We have experience in cybersecurity protection and strategy before, during and after crisis events.
Please contact us today if you want to start “that” conversation that is so needed now.
Stay calm. Do not panic. Be there for one another. Practice good hygiene both personally, and for your digital persona as well.