by Christa Escudero

April 20, 2020

Business Continuity 3 min read

How to Protect Your Business From COVID-19 Cyberattacks and Scams

The world continues to cope with the effects of COVID-19. Businesses are adjusting their operations and people are adapting their lifestyle with the pandemic’s restrictions. 

Unfortunately, cybercriminals are preying on these changesThey’re finding loopholes on the remote working setup and the reliance of customers on ecommerce to buy products and services. This is happening already with the increase of cyberattacks in the past few months. 

Stop cybercriminals from causing more damage to your businessespecially in this critical time. Learn ways to bullet-proof your business in this article.   

What suspicious COVID-19 activities should I watch out for? 

COVID-19 scams and attacks

Many COVID-19 scams proliferating the internet nowadays involve entities pretending to be bodies of authority. 

One example is emails and texts coming from supposed government agencies providing information about COVID-19 tests, financial aid, and others. These emails and texts contain malicious links and attachments created to extract the recipient’s personal information. 

Other scammers pose as banks, telco providers, or insurance companies. Their usual play is to lure people to surrender their personal information, request for remote access to their devices, or ask for payment for something you never purchased. 

There are also cybercriminals who mask themselves as your supplier, partner, or even your HR. These scammers usually divert your usual payments into a different account, so your money goes to them instead. 

Other scams involve websites posing as legitimate sources while carrying malware within their codes. 

How can I protect my business? 

How to protect business from COVID-19 scams and attacks

Be one step ahead. Follow these simple yet effective steps to strengthen your cybersecurity amid the COVID-19 crisis. 

1) Double check the emails you receive 

Make sure your emails are coming from the right domain. For example, emails from the Australian Taxation Office should come from an addresending in @ato.gov.au — not @ato.com.au or @ato.org.au. 

Beware of emails asking for your personal information, such as your password or bank account details. Companies will never ask for these details from you. So, never respond to such type of email.  

Also, be careful with email attachments. Never download items coming from unfamiliar sources. 

And filter all incoming emails using email protection software to prevent spam and dangerous emails from entering your mailbox. 

2) Enforce strict password policies 

Don’t take your passwords for granted. Implement policies for your employees when they setup passwords. These include minimum password lengths, character combinations required, words prohibited, and the like. 

For an added layer of protection, use tools such as single sign-on (SSO) and two-factor authentication. This makes it harder for hackers to breach your network. 

3) Install VPN and firewall 

Remote work has developed as the new norm for most businesses. With that, it’s more crucial to place stringent security measures to protect your network. 

One important measure is installing a virtual private network (VPN) in all your mobile and laptop devices. Compel your employees to use VPN whenever they work to protect your business information.  

Another thing you should do is install a firewall in your devices and your website. This quickly detects malicious traffic and stops it before it enters your network. 

Also, discourage your employees from using public wi-fi connection. It’s susceptible to weak security links and could put your data at risk. 

4) Install SSL into your website 

With the lack of person-to-person interaction, businesses now rely more onto online platforms to transact with their customers. 

Make sure to protect your own customer connections by getting an SSL certificate. 

SSL — or secure socket layer — encrypts any sensitive information that goes through your website, such as login details and credit card numbers. This prevents hackers from accessing these pieces of information and using them for malicious purposes. 

5) Update your software regularly 

Make sure to install software updates as soon as they get released. These updates usually have patches to security vulnerabilities, so getting them regularly will keep your devices secure. 

Also, create a policy to manage every software application you’re using in your network, then assign someone in your team to maintain them. 

6) Backup your data 

Sometimes, worse comes to worst and your data gets corrupted because of a cyberattack. To prepare for this, have a backup copy of your website — including all its contents.  

This will keep your business up and running in no time during worst-case scenarios. You want to prevent any case of downtime that leads to loss of credibility and profit. 

It pays to be secure 

Prevention is better than cure. Implementing these security measures now will benefit your business in the long run.  

Don’t take your website security for granted — especially in this time of uncertainty. 

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