On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization Director-General characterized COVID-19 (AKA coronavirus) as a pandemic. This is the first such declaration since H1N1 (AKA Swine Flu) in 2009. It is also a signal to every cybercriminal that new opportunities abound for fraud and profit opportunities. This in turn requires the average consumer and business to take more than just personal health-related precautions as new scams manifest and work from home requirements put more pressure on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for personal smart phones.
In this article we cover:
- COVID-19 Impacts on Businesses
- How to Work From Phone or Home or Both
- Easing the Workload While Protecting Against VISHING and PHISHING
Coronavirus Impacts Business In Other Ways
The coronavirus isn’t just presenting itself as a health scare. It has also become fertile ground for cyber criminals looking to exploit mass hysteria to capitalize on opportunities to capture private identity information as well as the potential for scamming hard cash. According to a Yahoo Finance article titled “Coronavirus: 6 scams to watch out for”:
“Consumers can expect to see a wide range of coronavirus-related ‘phishing’ (fake email), ‘smishing’ (text message phishing), and ‘vishing’ (phone fraud) scams over the coming weeks and months. These scams will prey on our insecurities about how and where the virus is spreading, and they could take several forms — such as fake health agency warnings about infections in your local area, vaccine and treatment offers, medical test results, health insurance cancellation, alerts about critical supply shortages, and more.
These messages can be highly convincing because criminals frequently use professional ‘phishing kits’ that perfectly match the logos and email formats of legitimate organizations. Hackers will also use tactics like ‘combosquatting’ and ‘typosquatting‘ to create fake URLs that are easy to fall for.
The authenticity of text messages and caller ID are also difficult to verify. Criminals will frequently combine these methods into a single attack, so that a person will get both a phone call and an email, or an email and a text message, etc., which makes it more likely they will fall for it.”
However you look at it, the coronavirus is rippling a new set of challenges for the average person and business. As an individual consumer you have to contend with these spam calls and texts (as well as emails). As a business, you may have to force a mandatory work from home policy which will require your employees to rely more heavily on the smart phones and personal computers if you don’t have enough laptops to go around.
Work From Phone or Home or Both
A few major corporations have taken the lead on starting the “work from home” trend to protect employees from the spread of coronavirus. The BusinessInsider.com website reported:
“As the coronavirus spreads across other parts of Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the US, major companies like Microsoft, Hitachi and Chevron are asking their workers to work remotely as a measure against the rapidly-spreading disease.
Similarly, major companies like Twitter, Apple, and Nestlé are restricting all non-essential business travel to keep the virus from spreading.”
Unfortunately, not everyone has a laptop and most companies don’t have enough laptops to supply every employee with corporate resources to work from home. This means that those employees will rely on their personal smart phones to pick up the slack. This translates into even more fertile ground for cybercriminals and scammers to leverage “vishing” and “smishing.”
Easing the Workload While Protecting Against VISHING and SMISHING
Bottomline is that you (and your employees) need to take a “security first” approach to mobile phone usage. You should look into apps that can easily be downloaded and setup to prevent vishing and smishing completely.
Yes, you guessed it, YouMail protects you and your employees from vishing and smishing and the best part? It’s free forever! You can join over ten million satisfied YouMailers today to enjoy a mobile phone experience of unparalleled robocall blocking while delighting your callers and becoming more productive in the process.
You don’t have to fall for COVID-19 scams or even “free” gimmicks when you can actually get vishing and smishing blocking free forever, and it is easier than you think to get started. Yes, it is truly free forever and you can get started in less than 5 minutes.