COVID-19: Protect Your Privacy While Working From Home

This is Red Five’s ninth weekly report detailing proactive steps you, your family, or your company can take to be prepared for the week ahead. This report represents work product derived from various reliable sources, and contains the most accurate information available at the time of print. However, it may be based in part upon information provided by third party sources, which may be subject to change at any time.

COVID-19 has spurred unparalleled changes on the work front, with tens of millions of Americans now working from home. With these changes come new opportunities for adversaries and common criminals to scam, fraud, hack, or otherwise take advantage of you, your family, or your company while working from home.

  • Google reported in an interview with The Verge, that they saw more than 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19 in April. Most of the scams were impersonating government organizations such as the WHO and the Treasury Department. Scammers are also pretending to be affiliated with their targets’ employers, asking recipients to click links or use new contact information.
  • The FBI warned in April of an increase in business email compromise (BEC) schemes, wherein scammers impersonate emails that appear to come directly from the boss. These fraudulent emails are often used to request large payments to “vendors” via wire transfer. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) notes that while this is a common scheme, scammers have changed their approach and are using current events as a way to convince the recipient to take action.

We recommend you take the following steps in order to protect your personal information and corporate data while working from home.  

  • Ensure your home network is secure, and password protected. Create a password that is between 18 and 26 characters in length, contains at least one upper case letter, one lower case letter, one number and one special character.
  • Do not open suspicious emails or click on suspicious links, and remind employees working from home to do the same. Phishing attacks and other cyber hacks are on the rise as offices have shifted to a work from home status.
  • Verify any requests that are outside the norm, even if made by an employee, friend, or family member. A phone call or text to their personal cell phone number will work. Cyber criminals are taking advantage of people working from home to spoof their email addresses and send fraudulent requests to their contacts.
  • Additional information on how to protect your information, your business, and your family while working from home can be found in this infographic.

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