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Cybersecurity During a Pandemic – And What You Can Do To Keep Employees Safe

As the world struggles to navigate the coronavirus new normal there is one community eager to take advantage of this crisis: hackers. As Enzoic’s COO, Josh Horwitz, put it in a recent article for Electronic Health Reporter, “With scams ranging the gamut from a coronavirus tracker that installs malware onto visitors’ devices to takeover of teleconferencing software to fraudulent company discounts or services related to the coronavirus, there is no shortage of ways bad actors are seeking to exploit consumers’ fear and confusion.”

We’ve written previously about steps organizations should take to ensure the protection of sensitive corporate data in these unprecedented times. But it’s also important that companies educate employees on the threat the pandemic may pose to their personal data and help them keep this information safe. Josh’s article outlined some tips to consider, among them:

  • An uptick in phishing scams. Hackers are increasingly employing phishing scams to impersonate companies offering a legitimate coronavirus-related service and trick recipients into sharing financial information or other personal data. To help employees spot these attacks, companies should encourage them to look for common phishing red flags like grammar, punctuation and formatting errors. It’s also a good practice to review both links and email domains to check for extra characters, dashes, or additional letters and numbers that don’t seem to belong.
  • Increased online shopping. As people practice social distancing, they are increasingly shopping online for everything ranging from everyday essentials to novelty items. In this environment, it’s critical that companies stress the importance of strong, unique passwords and urge their employees to invest in a password manager tool if they have trouble remembering all of their online credentials.
  • More connectivity. As Josh put it, “With people working from home or participating in remote learning programs, many families are experiencing an increase in internet connectivity. This undoubtedly puts a strain on bandwidth, but it also introduces some security vulnerabilities.” One such concern is the possibility of a child accidentally downloading malware on the home network, and there’s also the potential of vulnerabilities inherent in smart TVs and other connected devices. In addition to encouraging employees to be aware of these threats, organizations should also insist that people use their VPN to access work-related systems or data.

With hackers continually looking for ways to exploit the coronavirus pandemic, companies must educate their employees about the above security best practices and encourage them to remain vigilant in the evolving cybersecurity landscape.