Posted by: Connor Patterson on January 18, 2022 at 11:30 am
All of us have seen quite a change in the last several years. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many have moved more and more of their business virtually. Within this virtual world, cyber attacks have become even more prevalent. In fact, cyber-attacks have been up 400% since the start of COVID. Phishing has played a very big part in this; phishing is when others send emails pretending to be reputable companies in order to reveal personal information about you.
COVID has produced new ways that these phishers can gain our information. With the rise of the Omicron variant, the demand for COVID tests has skyrocketed. Phishers are taking advantage of this and sending out emails claiming to have these tests. Others have reported receiving emails about a cure or new vaccines. This is also not true. Be careful to not open these or click anything within these emails. One company that has been impersonated is Zoom. These messages say that your meetings have been canceled or that your account needs immediate attention. Others to watch out for are fake unemployment, or stimulus checks saying that they need the information to verify or confirm your benefits. Be careful if you see any messages from the IRS, they have been impersonated too.
So what are the easiest ways to identify these phishing scams?
The top five keywords to watch out for are:
Anything that will bait you into opening and revealing personal information. These people are looking for personal credentials (usernames, passwords, pin numbers), personal data (name, address), and medical info. Be sure to check who these emails are from; they can look very official. The best way to deal with these emails is to not click anything. Do not open any attachments or click any links. The subject of an email is an easy way to identify the scam.
Examples of phishing email subjects:
Credentials Needed for COVID Test
Important: COVID Cure
Payment Needed for Vaccines
Request for Updated Credentials
Notice how in all these subjects they want you to click on them and reveal your information. Most of the time these emails are very blunt, just by looking at the subject line you can tell they are fake, and you should avoid clicking them. One good thing to always remember is that rather than clicking something on an email if you have a question about a certain account go directly to that website and sign in with your credentials and see if anything needs addressing. This makes sure that you are always going to the proper and official website of the provider rather than being redirected to one that phishers have set up to mimic your vendor’s website. As always passwords play a big part in keeping you safe as well. Remember to keep these secure and change them regularly. We also recommend having passwords to banking sites and financial sites that are different from anything else you use to avoid anything being compromised. If you can set up 2-factor authentication where the company emails or texts you a code to log in this is always highly recommended as well.
Being an IT security and IT support company, phishing is something that we deal with multiple times within a day. If you have any questions or concerns, we would be glad to help at firstname.lastname@example.org.