Large numbers of us are now working from home in efforts to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that working together as a remote team brings its own set of challenges with email and collaborative tools being even more important than ever but with that said, we should also be mindful of cybersecurity practices – they will safeguard operations. There are alarming trends regarding cybersecurity as a result of the pandemic and here at CRA, we’d like to raise awareness for some of these trends and urge caution and due diligence when responding to emails.
Be watchful for scammers and emails relating to COVID-19. IT security organizations have identified many scam emails spoofing the World Health Organization (WHO) with requests for financial donations to the COVID-19 Solidarity Relief Fund. The emails copy legitimate communications from WHO regarding the fund but list an adversary-controlled Bitcoin (BTC) wallet address for payment. Other scammers impersonate U.S. government agencies and use the subject line “COVID-19 – Special Update – WHO.” Be careful with these types of emails – they are not legitimate.
Some of these spoofed mail messages contain Word or PDF attachments. These attachments carry malicious payloads. Do NOT open them. We advise that you immediately delete them.
With the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, it is likely for phishing campaigns to make use of lures aligned with health guidance, containment, and infection-rate news to increase over the next few months. There is also a possibility that malicious actors could take advantage of more employees working from home, and move toward lures attempting to spoof company guidance and procedures, human resource correspondence and company information technology (IT) issues and resources.
In a situation where employees will increasingly rely on email communications to continue business operations, the threat of phishing campaigns attempting to mimic official business communications will likely increase so please pay extra attention to your inbox.
Robocall and Vishing Tech Support Scams:
With telecommuting, employees increasingly rely on phone communications to maintain and continue business operations. Adversaries will likely take advantage of this situation and conduct malicious operations attempting to mimic official business communications. Such operations could include voice phishing or “vishing” and robocall scams, as well as technical support scams.
In some cases, vishing can be combined with smishing (text message phishing) in order to perpetrate such scams or load malicious content onto mobile devices. Technical support scams use various delivery methods including phone calls, pop-up warnings or redirects. Although the theme of these scams may not be directly related to COVID-19, the increase in office workers transitioning to remote work in the near term poses the risk of increased tech support scams targeting those individuals, who may not be adept at or self-sufficient in remote computing.
Be careful. Act smart and take extra care when managing your inbox and your telecommuting arrangements. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
In the meantime, we urge you to follow the health precautions suggested by the CDC and to stay current with updates from them:
-The CRA Service Team
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