How to Protect Your Workforce From Covid-19 Themed Phishing Emails

2020 has catapulted even the most technology-resistant businesses into the digital age. The Covid-19 pandemic, and subsequent lockdowns, forced most office-based businesses into a new home-working era. With this has come an increase in cyber security threats, and in particular, phishing emails. 

With every new development, whether positive – such as an advance in technology, or negative – as in the case of Covid-19, comes increased opportunities for cyber criminals to expose the cracks in our defences.   

In the case of homeworking, there’s a shift to all of us being ‘always on’ – answering work emails out of hours, and perhaps using work devices to manage personal emails or personal devices to handle work emails.  This insecure way of working sees phishing attackers rubbing their hands with glee.  It makes it so much easier for them to target people with emails that look like they are coming from a genuine, trusted source, before duping the recipient into clicking a link that will lead to them exposing login information and sensitive data or downloading malware. 

Phishing attacks are also preying on our vulnerabilities when it comes to Covid-19.  Knowing how aware people are about the situation, and also how keen most people are to have the latest news or safety measures, phishing attacks are becoming increasingly Covid-19 themed.  In fact, one survey by Webroot found that more than twenty percent of UK employees had received at least one Covid-19 themed phishing email over the last few months.  This figure is most likely higher, as many people cannot tell the difference now between genuine and phishing emails – given the sophistication of the attacks. 

So what does this mean for businesses that must continue to work from home and want to keep their staff, data and systems safe?   

Protecting Your Home Workers From Phishing Emails 

The shift to home working has involved, in many cases, huge changes in company infrastructure and adoption of cloud computing, so these businesses will not be in any hurry to change back to a fully office based environment, even as the Covid-19 situation improves.  The convenience home working allows, means it will also suit many employees and tick the necessary boxes for flexible working. With this in mind, if your business intends to carry on home working in some capacity, now is the time to ensure you protect your teams and your data from phishing attacks. 

Here are a few tips to help protect your workforce and organisation from phishing emails: 

  • Ensure your anti virus and anti malware software is up to date 
  • Encourage your workforce not to click on any emails they think are suspicious and to either delete them or forward them to your IT support team 
  • Teach your employees the signs of phishing emails so they can avoid opening them. For example, they should look out for: 
  • No specific greeting – i.e. ‘Dear friend…’ 
  • Poor formatting 
  • Typos 
  • No domain email – i.e instead of coming from the domain you would expect, the email comes from a variation thereof – for example instead of ‘paypal.com’ the email comes from ‘paypal123.com’ 
  • Urgent action being required or dire warnings in the email 
  • Requests for sensitive information in the email – genuine companies don’t ask for this by email 

Finally, the best way to protect your business from phishing attacks is to use the anti phishing services provided by your IT support company. 

Anti Phishing Services in Hampshire 

At Matrix IT, we offer excellent protection against phishing attacks, as part of the suite of security services we provide to businesses across Hampshire. Our security systems use behavioural learning to pinpoint false emails or those that are out of the blue, as these are typically malicious. We also provide spam protection and remove compromising links from emails. 

For peace of mind that your teams and data are safe, contact Matrix IT today to find out more about our anti phishing services and the overall security support that we can offer you. 

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