Many of us are suddenly full time remote workers. The transition to work out of the office shakes up our day-to-day routines. There is one habit that is critical to maintain: Good cyber hygiene. Cyber criminals are well aware of our new normal, and are hoping that we have let our guard down. Your phishing radar needs to be set to high. Think before you click. COVID-19-related phishing is on the rise. So all of the old scams, like the ones that ask you to send money in the form of gift cards or anything else, now also have a corona virus spin. Spoof emails that purport to be from government, like the CDC, WHO, and the perennial favorite, the IRS have also taken a COVID-19 twist. Think before you click.
Be especially careful of what you post on social media about your home working environment. And all of those social media quizzes about your favorite things are tools to a cyber crook can use to trick you into clicking, or to crack your passwords. It’s a good time to check your security settings to make sure you are aware of how broadly your posts can be viewed. Think carefully about the level of detail you share about yourself and your company on these platforms. Information that you view as harmless personal or business tidbits can be a gold mine to the criminal social engineers. Think before you share.
If you haven’t already, now is a good time to get in the habit of checking the email address (not just the name) of the email sender before clicking on a link or attachment. If it isn’t the email you know, pick up the phone and call the sender before clicking. In many applications, that is as simple as hovering, clicking, or tapping the senders name. Our IT folks are managing an exponential increase in folks in the field. Let’s not make their work harder! Think before you click.
Attached is a link to the Federal Trade Commission’s COVID-19 webpage. There, you can find information scams that have been identified, as well as more tips to keep you cyber safe.
We remain available to help if you need it. But this is a time when an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Lane & Waterman
Courtney Kay-Decker joined Lane & Waterman LLP in 1998 and rejoined the firm in 2019 after an eight-year hiatus leading the Iowa Department of Revenue. Her experience in the public and private sectors informs her collaborative approach to the practice of law. Her areas of practice include tax and administrative matters. Her unique experiences in identity theft tax fraud prevention allow her to share “cyber hygiene” advice as well.