On the 8th April 2020, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre issued a joint advisory note along with the US CISA /Homeland Security.

The central message is a warning to all – individuals, SMEs, medium and large enterprises – of a surge in cyber-crime that is directly linked to the current COVID-19 situation. Both NCSC and CISA have over the last month tracked significant increases in Phishing, malware injection attacks and attacks focusing on remote access and remote working infrastructure.

Many of the current spate of attack emails are cynically masquerading as information relevant to COVID-19 purporting to be from the government, or from doctors, or the World Health Organisation. Often the attack emails purport to offer information relevant to you, or the areas you live in, or are linked to COVID-19 related government financial support schemes.

What can you do to be better protected both for your own domestic cyber-safety and in the home working environment?

  • Be alert and take extra care when you receive email that asks you to click on links, download apps or open files.
  • Be on higher alert if the emails appear to be similar to those described above. Check the senders domain address and be alert to give-aways such as misspellings.
  • If in ANY doubt DO NOT open any link, download any files or attempt to respond. If you have a suspicious emails facility and you are unsure if the email is a valid email, send it to the Suspicious Emails team to check.

Tell tale signs of Phishing emails:

  • Authority – Does the email purport to come from someone or a department that has some authority? Does it pretend to be from a doctor, or the NHS, or another government department? Fraudsters love to pretend to be people or departments with authority.
  • Urgency – Is there a requirement of urgency in the email? Do you have days or hours to claim that government hardship grant? Fraudsters love to put you under time pressure so you don’t listen to your common sense and don’t have time to weigh up whether the email is likely to be genuine or a fraud.
  • Emotion – Does the email make you anxious? Does it increase your fears? Fraudsters can rob you more easily if your emotions are raised as raised emotions mean you are less cautious.
  • Scarcity – Does the email suggest rarity or scarcity? Fraudsters like to disarm you by making you think you are in an exclusive group. 

To find out more about how our Cybersecurity team can help your business, please click here or get in touch with Simon Shooter.