As COVID-19 puts most of the world on hold, different hackers and scammers abound on the Internet to take advantage of the pandemic. Whether you’ve shifted to a work from home setup or you’re just surfing the net, you need to learn to protect yourself from these cyber-attacks and to avoid any mental health problems.
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Zoom is a popular video conference program that people utilize for work or connecting with acquaintances. The COVID-19 pandemic inspired a rise in Zoombombing or hackers crashing zoom meets usually for a quick laugh or to ruin the conference. Some Zoom bombers have even resorted to racist or sexist trolling in various conferences.
Apps with malware
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Hackers also upped the attacks with fake COVID-19 apps that when downloaded, will place a virus onto your device. These fake apps supposedly provide information about nearby people diagnosed with the virus or where to buy essential supplies such as masks but in reality, will make your device dysfunctional or susceptible to hacking.
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Online scammers take misinformation a step further by asking for your personal information through phishing scams. Misleading emails or subscription offers claiming to be from the WHO or CDC will ask for your full name, address, and even your Social Security Number.
Hackers have also made fake Netflix and Disney+ sites to ask for these types of information. Scammers might use your information to steal your identity or blackmail you so you need to be careful with whom you share your personal data.
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To appeal to the good in you, scammers also ask donations for fake organizations or individuals to collect money. Although it’s generally good for you to share your blessings when you can make sure that you’re donating to legitimate causes i.e., medical professional groups or homeless shelters. If you’re working from home, you can help your team be productive and motivated by participating in donation drives for organizations.
Tips on how to protect yourself from COVID-19-related cyber attacks
Hackers and scammers are skillful in fooling online users. It takes a lot of effort for them to conduct massive manipulation, especially in a crisis like this. However, it takes little for users to actually protect themselves from these attacks.
1. Keep it private
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Whether you’re using Zoom or other video chat apps, make sure that your chat room links are private and password protected. You can also thoroughly screen your guests and limit guest abilities in the chat to prevent Zoom Bombing.
2. Protect your information
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Be mindful of which sites you’re providing information. Official sites like the WHO or CDC will never ask for personal data in exchange for daily updates about the virus. You can get these updates from official news sources.
3. Check authenticity
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Before you avail of an app or subscription or donate to a charity, make sure you check for authenticity. You can easily tell with a quick search on the Internet if a donation drive or site is legitimate. You can even simply contact the site or the organization and ask a few questions to verify legitimacy.
The whole world is aching for this pandemic to end. During the wait, scammers and hackers produce ways to take advantage of the fear and panic of their fellow citizens. But you can easily protect yourself from COVID-19-related cyber attacks by checking the authenticity of sites and apps you’re visiting and even organizations you’re conversing with. The Internet has made the world smaller, but keeping things private and protecting your information is easier than you think.