Working From Home? CoronaVirus Spam Emails & Hackers Are Out There

With Italy already in lockdown, it is expected that Coronavirus will continue to trigger widespread disruption globally. In an effort to protect public health, more and more governments are considering school closures and working-from-home mandates.

CFC’s in-house cyber incident response team notes, however, that the public concern about the virus’s spread as well as remote working is creating opportunities for cybercriminals. This advisory provides some background on these risks along with some easy-to-implement steps that businesses can follow to avoid falling victim.

Increased remote working can open gateway to hackers

Remote desktop protocol (RDP), when set up correctly, is a great tool for remote working. However, using it without multi-factor authentication (MFA) enabled or on an insecure network can open the gateway to hackers. In fact, in 2019, 80% of the ransomware attacks we handled were initiated through RDP.

In 2019, 80% of the ransomware attacks handled by CFC’s cyber claims team were initiated through RDP. Businesses that start using RDP for remote working during the outbreak should be aware of some of the cybersecurity risks it can pose and ensure it is being used securely. Employees should always log on within a trusted network and ideally work with their IT department to secure personal devices – and implement MFA – prior to remote working.

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Coronavirus increasingly being used in phishing attempts

As new cases of the Coronavirus continue to be reported daily, cybercriminals have been leveraging the situation to take advantage of those looking for information on the outbreak. For example, the Sophos Security Team has spotted emails impersonating the World Health Organization (WHO). The emails ask victims to “click on the button below to download Safety Measure”.

Users are then asked to verify their email by entering their credentials, redirecting those who fall for the scam to the legitimate WHO page, and delivering their credentials straight to the phisher.

As global concern about the coronavirus grows, it is likely that threat actors will continue to abuse this outbreak to their advantage. In addition, a Twitter user has identified another malware campaign purporting to be a “Coronavirus Update: China Operations”. The emails have attachments linking to malicious software.

As global concern about the coronavirus grows, it is likely that threat actors will continue to abuse this outbreak to their advantage.

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CFC Tips and Advice For Secure Homeworking

We suggest implementing the following steps to bolster security:

  1. Test remote log-in capabilitiesNot only should personal devices be configured for secure remote working, but business should ensure that multi-factor authentication (MFA) is set up immediately. MFA is an authentication process that requires more than just a password to protect an email account or digital identity and is used to ensure that a person is who they say they are by requiring a minimum of two pieces of unique data that corroborates their identity. Implementing this significantly reduces the chances of cybercriminals being able to log into a business’s RDP. For more information on MFA and how to implement it, click here.
  2. Train your employees on how to spot a phishing emailAs a CFC cyber policyholder, you can get free access to a range of risk management tools, including CyberRiskAware, an e-learning tool focusing on phishing attacks. This valuable tool teaches people within your business to be more vigilant when in comes to opening attachments, clicking on links, transferring money, or sending sensitive information.
  3. Prepare for operational disruption in advancePut simply, prepare for the worst. As with so many cyber incidents, time is of the essence so ensure you have an incident response plan in place, a template for which you can access for free as a CFC cyber policyholder.
About alastair walker (3069 Articles)
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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