Cybersecurity risks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While cybersecurity is an ongoing and very serious issue at the best of times, security experts say the spike in email scams during this coronavirus pandemic is the worst they have seen in years.

Cyber-criminals are targeting individuals as well as industries via email (phishing), text (smishing), and phone (vishing). The bad guys are using the world’s vulnerability and the human desire to help to scam businesses and individuals.

Some examples of scams:

  • Emails and texts from a financial institution asking you to click a link to be pre-approved for a low-interest rate loan to help you through these uncertain times.
  • Email from someone in your company requesting to upload personnel information, or to send an urgent wire transfer.
  • Email advising to open an attachment from the World Health Organization (WHO) for more information on COVID-19.
  • Fear-mongering emails, such as “Virus is now airborne” or “products Made in China have virus on them” and have a link to get more information.
  • Emails from seemingly legitimate sources asking you to click “Donate here to help,” or “Click here to see the tax cuts,” or “Your Zoom attendees are waiting.”
  • Phone call from government or health providers requesting credit card or banking information.

Stay Vigilant — tips for every email in your work/personal email inboxes, for texts, and phone calls:

  • Be suspicious of any email or text that asks you to do something out of the ordinary.
  • Do not open any attachment from an unknown sender, including known businesses.
  • Hover over any links within any received email to view the URL address of that link. Do not click that link before confirming the URL to which it links.
  • If you receive an email or text from any business or service with a link to click that seems legitimate, do not click the link, but instead go to the original website.
  • Do not provide any financial/credit card or personal information to anyone via email, text or over the phone, regardless of how legitimate it sounds.
  • Be sure that any action you are taking at your business is a legitimate request. For example, emails from CEO, COO, etc., that are out of the ordinary must be confirmed with that person.

Source: Credit Union Central of Manitoba.