Immoral Internet Thieves Will Take Advantage of Covid-19

Fact:    Crime is a by-product of humanity and wherever we choose to conduct business, people will commit crime.

Currently a high proportion of the population is trying to work from home using a number of hither to new technologies to them such as video conferencing, VOIP telephony, remote working and the more traditional email and cloud services. 

However we have delivered much of this capability at pace and largely untested to the levels of usual rigour that would be expected by an IT department.  In a sugar-coated world where everybody is working to defeat the unseen biological virus enemy, these measures would suffice.  But we don’t live in a perfect world and as well as the threat of unseen COVID-19, there exists another threat in the form of internet crime syndicates and their digital equivalent of a virus. 

But “won’t they be isolating too?” I hear you say.  Well crime syndicates aren’t solely made up of groups of criminals in rooms plotting their exploits, indeed many are spread across continents all remotely working on secure virtual private networks (vpns) so yes, they may be isolating but they still going about their despicable work.   

The purpose of this blog isn’t to scare you all witless, it’s to highlight that criminal gangs still abound and all the threats that we’ve seen in recent years still exist.  Ransomware attacks are still targeting the population with impunity.  One group operating the ransomware called Maze has already hit a UK Based biological research company despite claiming not to target medical organisations.  Now I’m sure they will claim it’s accidental but once your drive has been encrypted, the data is lost and even if you are stupid enough to pay once to get your data back, most times that fails and when it does they will come back for a second go.  To quote the owner of that company “he would rather go out of business than pay a ransom to release [stolen] data files” – wise words indeed.

“But I’m using a corporate laptop – surely I’m secure” – well some of you will be using corporate devices and that’s fine – I’m sure your IT Team have things under control.  The purpose of this blog is to highlight to small business, sole traders and home owners that you should be aware of the threat landscape and the measures that you need to take in a time when you may be preoccupied with the other challenges presented by the current epidemic. 

Things to bear in mind:

  • Ensure your Internet Security software is up to date and if you are using a “Free” version of software stop and go and buy something that offers “internet security” which should include email, web browsing and advanced malware protection.
  • Ensure your computer software is patched and up to date – If you are using windows 7 or earlier then it’s no longer updatable.
  • Delete any emails that are claiming to have detected an infection on your email – we sometimes call these phishing emails and they are designed to scare you into letting criminals into your machine.
  • Watch out for unsolicited texts and phone calls – yes you will get them from approved sources but they will never suggest that your computer is infected and needs cleaning.  In our business we protect our customers from infected machines on the internet and have no interest in calling people to clear their machines of viruses.  We can help you if you’re infected but we won’t call you.
  • Check the security of websites you are visiting – look for the padlock and ensure it’s bona fide before you enter your payment details into it.  If you have good browser security installed then that will protect you.

Above all we should carry on with our use of the internet – it’s been the largest social transformation in recent times and with a little more care and attention to detail it will and has proven to be an enabler in this time of crisis.

Don’t know who to turn to?  InfoSecurity People can help you with mobilising your business, securing your IT and keeping it up to date – please feel free to call us – our details are on our website