While COVID-19 is capturing attention around the world, cybercriminals are capitalising on the public’s desire to learn more about the outbreak. In Australia, the Australia Cyber Security Centre has reported an increase in phishing scams that attempt to steal personal information or to infect your devices with malware, and ads that peddle false information or scam products.

Cyber criminals can and do react quite quickly to education campaigns by government and business. In a recent example shared by the Australia Cyber Security Centre, a SMS phishing campaign utilised an alpha tag of “myGov”, meaning the fraudulent text messages appeared on recipients’ phones directly below previous, legitimate messages from myGov.

With many organisations and businesses operating entirely remotely, you may be busy just trying to keep your employees connected.  However, it’s more important than ever that data protection remains a high priority in your ongoing pandemic planning and internal communication strategy.

Todd Williams, Director of the New South Wales Cyber Security Innovation Node, an organization committed to developing and accelerating cyber capability in Australia, agrees. “We are all adapting quickly to the challenges of working remotely during the COVID-19 crisis.  However, such swift change requires a lot of mental energy, so our concentration can lapse and make us more vulnerable to things like online scams, especially ones that target our natural interest in the latest news about the virus.”

Here are 5 ways to protect your business and employees against phishing emails:

  1. Check the sender’s details – does the email address after the ‘@’ symbol in the ‘From’ line look legitimate?
  2. Communicate via secure channels – do not respond to requests for information via phone or SMS.
  3. Delete emails from unfamiliar sources containing links or attachments — do not click on the links, as they could be embedded with malware.
  4. Seek information from official sources – social media ads can spread coronavirus conspiracies and fake cures.
  5. Visit reputable websites – ones like Australian Department of Health or the World Health Organization.

We’ve developed a handy infographic for you to download and share with your employees when communicating them about data security and working remotely.  Download it here.