Warning: COVID-19 email scams and how you can avoid them

Neetika Rana
Categories: Secure your business
Tags: Email Security remote working

The global surge of the coronavirus has brought out many tales of heroism among our societies sadly it has also opened up new avenues for cybercriminals. Stories of online scams are emerging from within the UAE and beyond. 

Such is the scale of the problem that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a ‘COVID-19 scam alert’, warning against falling prey to criminals who may be using the organisation’s name to steal money or information. Other organisations around the world are following similar alert procedures.

Criminals are disguising themselves as reputable organisations to whom people would turn for advice during these trying times. But instead of looking to ease people’s worries and burdens, their sinister intent is to gain access to your email so they can install malware or steal sensitive information which gives them the ability to steal money or hold organisations to ransom. 

Unfortunately, email is not the first thing that comes to mind when people consider how to guard against cyber-crime, but it should be. email, while undoubtedly being a business and social lifeline during these challenging times, is also the most common way for cyber-criminals to progress scams often using phishing techniques when users are tricked into clicking a malicious link which appears to come from someone, or an organisation, that the user would recognize or trust! 

Most organisations are now going out with simple advice to follow to avoid the cyber-crime pitfalls – basically that if you are contacted by a person or organisation that appears to reputable, verify their authenticity before responding.”

The simple guidelines are to be constantly aware that reputable organisations will NEVER ask you to:

  • Login to view safety information
  • Send email attachments you didn’t ask for
  • Ask you to visit a link outside of their web ID
  • Charge you to apply for a job, register for a conference, or reserve a hotel
  • Stage lotteries or offer prizes, grants, certificates or funding through email
  • Ask you to donate directly to emergency response plans or funding appeals
  • Give sensitive information, such as usernames or passwords

Here’s how to authenticate the email:

  • Verify the sender by checking their email address.
  • Check the link before you click and make sure the link starts with ‘https://www.
  • Better still, navigate to the organisation’s website directly via your browser.

Organisations should make their remote workers aware of these simple guidelines. But with remote working now becoming a business norm which could become a lasting legacy, organisations also need to think about the best way to ensure their networks are safe. Moving to cloud services, such as Office 365 and Azure, are way up there as stay-secure mediums but here is a whole range of tools that can help you boost security and Cobweb knows them all.

Look upon Cobweb team as your security advisors who can suggest your best way forward, help you implement or migrate security solutions, support your in-house teams, or undertake the turnkey implementation. Or you can quickly assess how secure your business is with our free online security assessment.

Stay safe!

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