The bear economy is creating a bull market for cyber-crooks. An unfortunate side effect of economic downturns is an increase in cyber fraud. Worldwide cyber fraud has hit an all-time high. For the first time on record, data theft has now surpassed the stealing of physical assets as compared to the past two decades. Given our current global pandemic, cyber fraud has only increased as fraudsters try to take advantage of high demand for information regarding COVID-19.
Due to recent restrictions placed on communities and social distancing, more and more people are spending their time online. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the increase in online traffic. According to the cybersecurity firm, MonsterCloud, there has been an 800 percent increase in cyber fraud claims since the beginning of the year.
Here are some of the most common cyber frauds as reported by Charles Schwab:
- Outbreak maps. Malicious actors have begun spreading malware through online maps claiming to track the impact of coronavirus. As users visit the sites or click the links, they are exposing usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, browsing history, or other nonpublic personal information that is then exploited by the attackers or sold to other criminals on the dark web.
- Email campaigns. Criminals are also leveraging common forms of fraud like spam email campaigns, using infected attachments or downloads to gather information.
- Charitable giving. Scammers may pose as organizations in need. It is important to verify where your donations are going to before donating. One important resource here: https://charitycheck101.org/
Fortunately, there are several steps that individuals, businesses, and families can take to prevent a cyber attack. As many continue to work remotely, and as we transfer to a more digital society, please consider the following:
- Make sure everyone is using a VPN, or a virtual private network, to do office work from home.
- Require devices to have two-factor authentication, which verifies a person's identity before logging in.
- Only use WiFi networks that are password protected.
- Companies should maintain a reliable back up for their data on a different network.
- Organizations should make sure their antivirus software is up to date.
- Everyone should think before they click on links and emails.
"Think before you click" is perhaps the most important measure here. At DWM, we take cybersecurity very seriously. As the majority of us work from home over the next few weeks, we continue to rely on two-factor authentications, virtual private networks through our cloud platform, antivirus software, and secure home WiFi. We also continue to collaborate with our third-party technology providers to stay proactive and increase our security on a daily basis.