As the news and social media is inundated with the latest news and updates about the Coronavirus and its impact on the United States and abroad, cyber activity is also seeing an uptick with malicious activity. To date, cyber companies have been tracking an increase in phishing attempts and robo calling attempting to exploit the situation. These methods are the most common way for bad actors to gain access to our financial institutions or for ransomware to gain access to our companies’ servers.
This is a reminder that bad actors will use any and all methods necessary to take advantage of the situation. During this time, when all companies are using email to communicate how they are taking preventative measures against COVID-19, everyone should take a moment and confirm the email is from the stated company and not a phishing attempt.
Listed here are several ways to help determine the validity of an email.
- Email addresses are similar to confirmed addresses but slightly changed
- Links state one thing, but when viewing the full path clearly will redirect a user to a different location.
- Poor grammar
- Demand quick action
- Typically with the request to click a link or to respond immediately
Another area that has seen a rise in cybercrime is with fake Go Fund Me pages and similar donation emails and phone calls. Prior to clicking on a link, verify where the link redirects. Before donating and signing petitions, confirming the authenticity is critical to protecting your privacy.
Cyber bad actors as they are known in the industry are using COVID-19. We must do our part to stay vigilant in fighting these bad actors by verifying emails before clicking links or replying. We, as Americans, continue to rise up to challenges. We always have and always will continue to show generosity and come together to help others. But let’s not let our generosity toward mankind also be the reason we inadvertently provide our bank accounts to bad actors nor let it be the way they gain access to our companies’ servers for ransomware.