Covid-19 how to stay cyber-secure

Hannes Wessels, Managing Director, Cyber Invest

Protean does a lot of work assisting clients to prepare for effective response to crisis and disruption through the development of Crisis Management and Business Continuity Programmes. We engaged with Hannes Wessels, Managing Director of Cyber Invest to get an expert view on Cyber Security during the time of Covid-19 and while so many of us are working from home. This is what he had to say:

With an increasing number of people working from home, cyber criminals are taking advantage – hacking, phishing and generally causing mayhem among people who are ill-equipped to protect themselves. Home workers don’t have access to the security infrastructure available in an office, which hackers know. We have seen a huge spike in rogue websites being created and phishing emails being sent out. These emails will always require you to supply personal information, like your email address.

Please DO NOT submit any personal information online. We urge people not to click on any links they are not familiar with. Cyber criminals create malicious links with words like “COVID 19 cure” or “COVID 19 latest stats” and so on. Hackers use social engineering to play on people’s feelings – they get you to click on links by emotionally manipulating you. By clicking on these links, you can and will allow a hacker to steal information, execute malware, or worse – like create a backdoor into your PC for total takeover.

We have detected the creation of a lot of new rogue websites, for example:

  • coronavirusstatus[.]space
  • coronavirus-map[.]com
  • blogcoronacl.canalcero[.]digital
  • coronavirus[.]zone
  • coronavirus-realtime[.]com
  • coronavirus[.]app
  • bgvfr.coronavirusaware[.]xyz
  • coronavirusaware[.]xyz
  • corona-virus[.]healthcare
  • survivecoronavirus[.]org
  • vaccine-coronavirus[.]com
  • coronavirus[.]cc
  • bestcoronavirusprotect[.]tk
  • coronavirusupdate[.]tk

Please DO NOT visit any of these sites.

There is also software doing the rounds that promises to equip you with information on the virus in real time. The software is called “Coronavirus map”. Please DO NOT install this. It uploads malware to your PC that steals valuable information, such as credit-card information and passwords. A mobile app called ‘Ways to get rid of coronavirus’ does something similar. Please DO NOT install any apps if you want to remain safe.

News channels like eNCA News and News 24 should have all the latest information you need. If you don’t have Office 365 or cloud-based protection, be very careful about what you access online. Do not download and open any attachments, even from known senders – rather contact the sender and find out if they did send something to you. Hackers frequently use a technique called ‘spoofing’ to send an email to you and make it look as if it was from someone you know. Invest in software that can filter incoming mails or links in incoming mails. Also be careful on social media, where a large number of rogue links and attachments are shared.

If you think you may have been infected, we advise you to use your local antivirus software to run a virus scan on your computer. Regular software updates protect you from hacking attempts as they are released according to sources received on a regular basis, so be sure to install them. Companies should allow users to connect via a virtual private network (VPN) behind their firewalls, which sits in a safe remote zone. This will force employees and users to adhere to office regulations, protecting company data and avoiding information leaks in the process. Even when working from home, we should adhere to safety protocols and treat any link we receive as potentially malicious.

You can contact us at Cyber Invest to assist if you feel your security may have been compromised. Protect your data and stay safe!