So many things in our normal life has changed in the last few weeks. Social distancing, shelter in place, shortages of cleaning supplies and toilet paper have become daily experiences. What hasn’t changed; hackers are taking advantage of these times to trick us and break into our organizations and systems.

We have seen a number of reports of phishing attempts masquerading as COVID-19 updates or hotlines from government entities. We’ve also seen several reports of Healthcare entities, the very entities we are all relying on to get us through this crisis, suffering hacks or ransomware attacks during the pandemic.

The hackers have tried to take advantage of world events before. In the past they have set up fake donation sites to collect money for victims of everything from tornadoes, to earthquakes, to the devastating tsunamis. 

Now with a global pandemic, they are at it again. So, what can we do? Well we are all getting good at social distancing. Maybe we also need to get better at “cyber security distancing.”

What's "cyber security distancing"?

It’s being more circumspect of things we see and do on the internet.

  • Do not trust unsolicited emails that come with link or attachments. Call the person who sent it and ask if they sent it to you.
  • Be suspicious of connection requests, even through social media applications. If you don’t know the person, maybe now is not the best time to expand your LinkedIn connections.
  • Be careful of which website you go to for your news and information. Make sure that it is reputable. One way to do that, although it’s not fool-proof, is to use Google or another search engine to search for the site you want to read.

Some of these responses may sound like overreactions, and maybe they are. But I think these suggestions are like washing your hands frequently, for 20 seconds at a time. They will not guarantee that you won’t get hacked, but it will reduce the likelihood. These are trying times.  We’re all trying to get through them as best we can. Please be careful of what you do on the internet; the bad guys want to take advantage of you. Don’t let them.

Have any questions or want to hear more about how to “cyber security distance”? Reach out to Mark Johnson at mark.johnson@lbmc.com.