A roundup of work from home online safety tips, and more

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Monday March 30th. I’m Howard Solomon, contributing reporter on cyber security for ITWorldCanada.com.

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Criminals are eagerly taking advantage of the pandemic crisis. I’ve told you in recent podcasts about COVID-19 scams. Criminals know more people are working from home and aren’t using better-defended computers at the office. So criminals are sending out more phishing attacks and opening corrupt web sites. That means you’ve got to be smarter.

Make sure the operating systems of all your devices — Windows, Android, Apple — are up to date. Make sure all the software you use is up to date, especially antivirus. Make sure your passwords are strong, especially home Wi-Fi passwords. If necessary download a password manager from a well-known company. Be careful clicking on attachments and links in email. Be especially wary of email with coronavirus or COVID-19 themes.

You’re bored? Now is not the time for your or your children to experiment and download software or apps. If you can keep children away from the computer you use for working from home. They may do something and before you know it your company is the victim of a cyber attack.

Consider not sending family and friends pandemic links. Ask your family and friends to stop sending you links. What you really need to know about the pandemic is stay at home as long as you can. When you come back after going out and touching things, wash your hands thoroughly. Try not to touch your face — the virus spreads from hands to face and then gets in your lungs. Want to know the latest news? Turn on your TV or radio. Don’t click on links.

Videoconferencing through the Zoom service has become increasingly popular with people stuck in their houses to do work or chat with friends. That has led to a report that criminals are finding out about conference meetings and sending malicious links to the session or just listening in. Meeting hosts should verify participants with passwords or limit the number of participants.

Last, check with your employer about what it expects from you in terms of safe practices.

How eager are criminals to take advantage of the crisis? Hospitals keep getting hit with ransomware. According to the news site Bleeping Computer, one cyber security expert has recently seen 10 hospitals targeted. There are also reports of pharmaceutical companies being attacked as well as a Connecticut-based electronics manufacturer which makes products for the medical equipment and telecom sectors. And the Chubb insurance company, which among other things sells data breach insurance, said it is looking into a report that one of its partners was hacked and has put Chubb information online.

Some good news: The FBI has sized and closed a hacker website and charged its administrator. The site allowed users to purchase access to cyber storefronts from which they could sell stolen passwords and other goods.

Finally, Apple has released updates for iOS, macOS, Safari browser, watchOS, tvOS and other products. Devices may be set for automatic updates, but it doesn’t hurt to periodically check for alerts.

That’s it for Cyber Security Today. Links to details about these stories can be found in the text version of each podcast at ITWorldCanada.com. That’s where you’ll also find my news stories aimed at businesses and cyber security professionals. Cyber Security Today can be heard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or add us to your Flash Briefing on your smart speaker.



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