We’ve been warning our readers of recent, emerging threats since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic – and we won’t stop. The cybersecurity risk level has skyrocketed while cybercriminals are leveraging on all things COVID-related. Hackers are smart – they know exactly what to say and how to say it to provoke fear, worry, or panic among their victims. They know exactly how to take advantage of us during vulnerable states. Individuals are falling victim to their threats through phishing campaigns and they’re never-ending.
So, what are some vital things to look out for right now? Here are the top three threats:
- Phishing or spear-phishing: phishing and spear-phishing typically occur through email, instant messaging, or SMS texts and are hacking tactics that are produced by cybercriminals to trick you into opening, downloading, or clicking on an infected link in order to access private or sensitive information. However, phishing attacks can also be in person or over the phone – there are a few different methods used by cybercriminals. Phishing attacks are commonly used methods by hackers and are often successful. Read more on our blog, Here, Phishy Phishy: Don’t Get Hooked by Phishing Emails, to learn more about phishing attacks and what to specifically look out for.
- Pretexting: also known as “social engineering,” pretexting is the act of lying to the target to obtain privileged data used in emailing or text messaging. A cybercriminal will use a series of texts to lure the target into releasing sensitive information such as a bank account number, credit card number, social security number, or passwords. Oftentimes, they’ll ask personal questions to try and guess well-known security questions. They will also impersonate someone in power or someone you know well such as your boss, a family member, bank, or even law enforcement – this helps to make them more believable and for the target to respond willingly to their requests.
- Video call hacking: since the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, videoconferencing hit an all-time peak in popularity. Zoom participants more than tripled from December 2019 to now. However, with the increase of users comes an increase in security vulnerabilities and risk factors. When using third-party videoconferencing applications, always use password-protected video calls to avoid unwanted guests, use waiting rooms to streamline participants and to make sure no one can join the call before the host, protect your content and don’t share any proprietary information, limit screen-sharing access and avoid any plug-ins that may offer additional “help.” Not all videoconferencing services are the same but being mindful of those things will keep you better protected against video hacking.
As we continue to navigate through these uncertain times, be sure to stay on top of online and cybersecurity news especially if you’ll be working from home or remotely. You’re a small fish in a big sea of sharks just waiting to be caught – it’s just a matter of time. Outsmart these attackers and brush up regularly on your cybersecurity knowledge. We always say – if you own a computer and you’re accessing online programs, you are now 100% vulnerable to any type of attack and it’s now your responsibility to learn more about how you can keep yourself and your information protected at all cost.