We all know how the COVID pandemic changed the way we worked, played, and basically existed in 2020. Companies quickly adapted to allowing their employees to work from home. We were shopping online more than ever. Attending business meetings and socializing with Zoom. Banking and paying bills electronically. And cyber criminals took advantage of it all!
Many of these changes became permanent as we saw how convenient it is to use these tools to make our lives easier. The world started getting back to a new form of normal and then…BOOM! It started all over again. The Delta variant came along and began to grow. Welcome to Pandemic 2.0!
Much as we are reminded about the basic precautions we must take to protect the health of ourselves and our families – wear masks, social distance, wash our hands, get the vaccine – we must also remember the basic precautions to protect ourselves, our families, and businesses online.
Working From Home
When working from home, be sure that you have changed the default password on your router. Also, do not use your personal computer for work or your work computer for personal things. Remember the lawyer on the Zoom meeting with a judge when he couldn’t change the setting from when his child had set the filter to a cat? “I am not a cat.”
Keep your work devices and documentation locked up and/or protected.
Ensure the screens on your work devices – laptops, tablets, cell phones – are locked when not in use, and be sure to use secure passwords.
General Security Reminders
Set Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) on programs that allow you to do so. It may seem inconvenient but it is a lot easier than cleaning up a data breach!
Be careful about opening and clicking on links from someone you don’t know. AND if it is from someone you know, but you were not expecting it, or it seems odd, call the sender to make sure it is legitimate. Better safe than sorry.
Beware of ‘enticing’ emails or text messages. I promise you that if there is a major COVID breakthrough, you will see it on the news. And you have not won a cruise or the lottery. If it seems too good to be true, well, it’s too good to be true.
Check your accounts at home on your secure network. Make sure there are no charges that you don’t recognize.
If you receive a phone call, text, or email from your cell phone company or another service, call them back. Look up their toll-free number on their legitimate website and call to make sure that Verizon really is trying to contact you about your account.
When you get an email or text from Amazon saying that your account was used to purchase a hang glider, DO NOT click the link. Check your Amazon account from your usual device the way you always do or just call them.
Remember that cyber criminals will use disasters to prey upon unsuspecting victims. The Coronavirus is bad enough to deal with. Let’s try to stay “vaccinated” from computer viruses by being Cyber Smart!