Beware of online coronavirus scams

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Cyber security and privacy risks should be the top priority for any business at present, especially whilst trying to accommodate all staff in their new remote working environments. In the rush to get everybody working from home, security probably wasn’t top of mind and this presents a major threat for many businesses and people working from home for the first time.

More concerning is the intensification of cyberattacks, unscrupulous cybercriminals exploiting vulnerable and unsuspecting home workers. Business owners haven't taken the correct security measures to ensure everyone is protected.

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) has warned that cybercriminals are exploiting the spread of Coronavirus for their own gain using “Coronamania” panic to spread Coronavirus scams.

It says these scams takes advantage of people’s concerns for their health and safety and pressure them into being tricked using social engineering. Social Engineering is manipulative and exploits human vulnerability because criminals know that the weakest link in the information security chain is the human being.

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Working from home the 'new normal', but be wary of cyber security threats

With many companies opting to let employees work from home as a measure to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, a cyber security expert has sounded a warning about the importance of data security.

“With many more workers outside the corporate boundaries, it is key to ensure compliance around data security. This includes issues like data encryption and remote backups,” said J2 Software CEO John McLoughlin.

“The process and need for improved cyber resilience is something that requires even greater vigilance as staff move out of the business and access corporate networks remotely.”

He said unsecured home networks, default passwords and excessive social media sharing were opening holes in business cyber security.

“With many employees working from home for the first time, there will be many new problems that might not have been addressed or maybe not even thought of,” said McLoughlin.

At work, employees were protected by secure Wi-Fi networks and operate behind company firewalls. However, the sudden move to home meant some employees are using laptops and desktops with no firewalls and accessing systems using open remote desktop sessions.

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Cyber risks are becoming more complex and challenging

Despite the rate at which digital technology is evolving and disrupting traditional business models, cyber unnamedrisks seem to evolve even faster.

And despite declining business confidence in the ability to manage cyber risk, business leaders are now clearly recognising the critical nature of cyber threats and are starting to identify and embrace best practices to mitigate risks.

Cyber risk has moved beyond data breaches and privacy. There are now sophisticated attacks that are disrupting entire countries, industries, businesses and supply chains. This is costing the economy billions and affecting businesses in every sector. Unfortunately, cyber risk cannot be eliminated, but it can be mitigated and managed.

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2020 brings new security challenges

The dialogue has already changed drastically from security products and services to new innovations being used by cyber criminals. To prevent being the next victim, one needs to become part of this narrative.

Regardless of what defensive measures security experts put in place, attackers are always capable of circumventing them. There is no company too big or too small to fall victim to a cybercrime and there is no industry that is immune to attack. There is always someone trying to steal company data.

Cyber criminals are constantly infiltrating networks and accessing large volumes of data, putting millions of people at risk. The threats are real and the attackers are ready to attack. However, something stands between them and their prize.

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Huge losses as fraudsters intercept emails

Fraudsters have once again swindled unsuspecting clients out of their life savings.

They managed to intercept emails from a financial services provider to its clients, advising them on tax savings by bolstering their retirement policies or tax free savings, according to cyber-security specialist and J2 Software CEO John Mc Loughlin.

The fraudsters intercepted the email and responded on behalf of the client, asking for confirmation on what had been put into retirement savings and also what was still possible. The financial advisors then responded and provided a breakdown of the current tax year investments and what the client was allowed to contribute before the end of the tax year.

He says the financial advisor emailed the requested information and documentation to the client’s email address. “The documentation contained the customer information and details of the investment to be paid via eft and also included the businesses bank details.”

Having received the signed document as well as the proof of payment from the client’s email address, the financial advisor assumed all was in order. This was then sent for processing as they waited for the investment to clear in their bank account.

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