There are a lot of lessons to be learned coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and they cover anything and everything. What was normal back in January may no longer exist and no one knows quite what business as normal will be. When something like this happens there comes a time for reflection which hopefully spurs people into being more conscious of their actions or behaviors. Certainly we’ve done that with personal hygiene but there is far more than just that. Have you changed your cyber security precautions?

Business As Usual For Cyber Criminals

COVID-19 has not stopped cyber criminals from doing their thing. In fact it has probably made it easier for them. In a way cyber criminals may be the only group of people that are still operating on business as usual mode. 

We’ve all changed how we’ve had to work and that means that we have become more dependent on technology. People have spent more time using technology to stay entertained or to try to stay employed and cyber criminals are doing what they do best, adapting. The video conferencing program Zoom is probably the most popular issue discovered after some serious security issues were found and fixed in March and April and Zoom is hardly alone.

COVID-19 Has Increased Attacks

These past few months have seen an increase in cyber attacks on hospitals and other healthcare facilities. The number of phishing attacks have also increased as have the number of ransomware attacks. COVID-19 has people spooked and it has made it easier for criminals to get their victim’s usernames and passwords. 

Lax cyber security precautions can have far reaching consequences. Hospitals are perhaps the easiest target as many are using outdated software to run devices making it easier for hackers. This is not something that was discovered during this pandemic as it has been known for some time and it has been exploited by criminals for some time with some seeing this as the opportune time to exploit a vulnerability. Imagine a hospital’s network being knocked offline or even just a doctor’s office have their systems compromised. We need these institutions now more than ever and it just shows how heartless and cold these criminals are. 

Not Just An American Problem

And it’s even more that just the US that is threatened. Let’s face it, lax cyber security may seem like it is an American pastime but it is something that countries around the world have to deal with. Cyber attacks can be life threatening as they can attack the power grid like they did in South Africa last year or a more recent attack on water systems in Israel as part of a terrorist attack.

It is also difficult in even the best of time to trace who is responsible much less find them and arrest them. With governments around the globe occupied with bigger issues it will make that even harder.

What Can You Do? 

So, what can you do to avoid this? The most obvious is to use a strong password for all accounts and to enable Multi-Factor Authentication if it is available. Do not use the same username and password for every single account. If you do, you are asking for trouble. At the same time keep all of your software up to date to close security holes. This includes your antivirus software, your operating system and the software on your smartphone. And don’t forget to keep your WordPress site up to date as well

You should also know how to spot a phishing attack and you should have no problem deleting them. Since this is one of the easiest ways a criminal can steal your information knowing how to spot them is the easiest way to stop them. If we can all do that, we will be much stronger as a country.

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