Remember, if your network reaches out to the world, the world has a path back in.
By Cynthia Ayers, Chair
NFRW Homeland Security Committee
Shutdowns across the nation have resulted in an increase in online activity. Whether using online resources for education, shopping online for necessities, working remotely, or simply surfing the web out of boredom, we all probably have increased our usage of the internet.
Unfortunately, spoofers, spammers, scammers, hackers, and state-sponsored cyber criminals have also been busy, increasing their efforts to match our own. (Example: Had you heard of “zoombombing” before the coronavirus hit?)
Please be aware that everything you do online probably is “watched” by someone, no matter how good your security is. CISA, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, has published a variety of “tips” for online work that include new “cyber alerts” describing the efforts of attackers to use COVID-19 to their own advantage (e.g. a new ransomware called “CovidLock”).
Clicking on links or attachments in unsolicited emails, no matter how authentic or enticing they seem, could destroy your data for good, and/or leave you without the means to use your computer. And getting anything fixed – if you actually can after a malware attack – is now more difficult than ever.
CISA also warns “some actors, seek to disrupt the operations of American institutions and misuse systems for politically motivated causes.” Video-teleconferencing is especially vulnerable.
Also beware of “fake” companies – those offering cheap N95 masks, for instance. Even if these companies actually send products, it could be a front used to gain and take over your credit info. Even medical facilities and state organizations are falling victim to such scams. Stick with companies and services you know are legitimate.
Being at home doesn’t always mean being completely safe. Remember if your network reaches out to the world, the world has a path back in.
Additional information is available on the CISA website, and members can read more cyber security tips on the NFRW Homeland Committee Resource Page.
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