Protecting Yourself from Cybercrime in the COVID-19 Era

Security protection and privacy 2020 and beyond

Protecting Yourself from Cybercrime in the COVID-19 Era

Cybercrime is always a concern, but the COVID-19 pandemic has created unique issues in the world of IT and cybersecurity. Firstly, an increase in online traffic has slowly grown these past four months as more people stay inside on devices while social distancing and sheltering at home. Secondly, many companies that we’re able to transition to work from home operations had little to no preparations put in place for the change. This process led to a lot of people working from home with inadequate security measures put in place. Lastly, meetings moved to video conferencing platforms. Many without experiencing using these channels found themselves unaware of dangers that present themselves in these virtual spaces. 

What can you and your business do to protect against cybercrime during the COVID-19 pandemic? In many cases, the solutions that keep your information and data safe are relatively straightforward measures anyone can adopt. Let’s go over what areas are under attack in the world of cybersecurity. Plus, we’ll talk about how to protect against those concerns.

COVID-19 Cyber Attacks – What’s Under Attack?

Areas of IT and cybersecurity that many of us take for granted are suddenly ripe for hacking and data breaches. How does something like this happen? Simply, cybercriminals know that we are spending more time online. For starters, with many of our favorite places closed, we’re left to stay at home browsing the internet or social media. Likewise, those who have been fortunate to work from home are doing so on less secure networks than they likely utilize at work. All of this leads to cybercriminals knowing the time is right to attack. 

A growing number of reports of phishing scams cause immediate concern for anyone who regularly uses email or social media. The process is simple: someone sends you a message with a link, you click it, and it begins installing or planting malware on your device. If you get an email for work outside of your network, always practice caution and avoid clicking links or downloading attachments you don’t recognize. 

Another primary concern is network security. Remote workforces involve many different devices connecting to the internet. If one of those connections is not secure, the entire network can be in jeopardy. Personal information, like financial data or identification information, is dangerous enough. For an organization, however, the data at risk could put thousands of dollars and the livelihoods of employees and managers at risk.

The question is not whether cybercrime is on the rise or not; IT analysts have noted a significant increase in these sorts of attacks. With that in mind, here are ways to protect against the rise in cybercrime during COVID-19. 

Cybersecurity Essentials During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Three significant areas of concern can be addressed on a personal or professional level as we continue working remotely and using our devices more often. Let’s start at the individual level with simple equipment and network protection.

Personal Device and Network Protection

With workers home on their WiFi connections, security is at-risk more than usual. Likewise, the increased presence of cybercriminals targeting citizens leaves even your evening social media browsing vulnerable. Two quick solutions can help protect you better. Firstly, ensure your home WiFi network is secure. The easiest way to do this is to change your password to something substantial and complicated. Don’t store the password on your device either; write it down on paper if you think you might not remember it. Next, enable network encryption. This measure provides an extra layer of security. The added benefit of a WPA2 network, as opposed to simple password protection, is significant. 

As far as keeping your device secure, you should also note your passwords and software or app use. Many social media channels and websites now offer two-step authentication for your accounts. Cyberattacks on a single account can lead hackers straight to all of your information. Not to mention, as many people continue working from home, businesses will want to ensure they are providing proper security measures as well.

Server Access for Sensitive Files and Documents

Many works from home operations were thrown together in March and likely include several missteps and shortcomings. A secure network for server access to company documents and files is crucial for many people to do their job. For that reason, many companies utilize mobile connect software to get remote devices on company servers.

The easiest way to increase security in this area is to set up a company VPN. Virtual private networks can provide you access to the company server but add an extra level of protection and private access. It’s also worth noting that companies might want to review what sort of antivirus and antimalware software they use. The monthly cost for these services can be minuscule in comparison to a significant data breach.

Video Conferencing

Lastly, video conferencing is a new practice many of us utilize every week, if not every day. The rush to platforms like Zoom or Google Meet led many organizations to skip valuable security steps. Firstly, every user should be on a unique account set up by an IT professional. Likewise, the meeting rooms you use for your company meetings should take place in rooms with unique IDs. The security measures for the free use of many platforms do not match the needed steps to keep your information and meetings safe. Like VPN access, paid steps to keep videos secure are worth the cost.

Small Steps Mean Significant Protection for Your Info and Data

None of these steps require much knowledge of IT or cybersecurity practices. Yet, implementing these elements can keep you safe in your personal and professional internet use during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know these issues will persist for some time, so take steps to protect yourself now before a problem arises and causes significant financial and organizational turmoil.


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