Cyber Security matters more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic

Coronvarius (COVID-19) is possibly the largest cyber security threat of all time. Cybercriminals are capitalising on the global crisis that is COVID‑19 to send fake email and SMS phishing attacks with content related to the virus.  Most of these attacks are designed to infect our systems with malware or steal our login details.

Extremely creative attack methods are being devised to exploit our fears and to trick us into unsafe online behaviours.  Websites with information on COVID-19 are being replicated and links replaced with malicious code.  Phishing emails with links to fake landing pages for common remote working platforms like Office365 or Gmail, asking a user to login are also popular.

A lot of us are working remotely for the first time and need to be cognisant of how we protect data and assets from theft outside of the office.  For example, never copying files to your home computer, and not using unsolicited third-party platforms to insecurely share files.

With more time spent online, working from home and with the anxiety being experienced as a result of the Coronavirus, it is important that we stay vigilant online and follow good cyber safety practices.

So, what can we do?

Keeping your data and systems safe at home and at work is equally important. Just as addressing the COVID-19 pandemic requires changing our social habits and routines to reduce infection rates, a change in our online behaviour can help maintain high levels of cyber security.

Here are actions you can take to stay safe online:

  1. Step up your cyber hygiene standards. ​Check that you have a long, complex router/modem password for your home wifi​, and ensure your Fortescue devices, such as laptops and mobile phones, are physically secure at home.
  2. Be extra vigilant and check the detail. Be far more careful than usual. We encourage everyone to be on alert for any unexpected emails that request users to: click links, login to pages or download attachments. Digital viruses spread much like physical ones; your potential mistakes online could very well contaminate others in the organisation.
  3. Update your systems. Just as you pay attention to trusted sources of data on the spread and impact of COVID-19, be sure to update your computer or mobile device operating system and applications regularly to patch any weaknesses that may be exploited.
  4. Avoid working outside of official channels/devices. Protecting data and physical assets is more important when working outside of the office. Always use official company channels/platforms to collaborate and share file. Never copy information to unmanaged devices e.g. personal computers, mobile phones, USB keys and external hard drives.

Everyone’s personal behaviour is instrumental in preventing the spread of dangerous infections both online and in the physical world.

Credit: Mark Wallace – Cyber Security Manager, Architecture & Portfolio at Fortescue Metals Group