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Computer Viruses Also Increase as More Work from Home

In a digital-meets-real-world problem, computers with less security in homes are being targeted, and the entrance method is often an email link related to COVID-19.

CHICAGO – Cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies has found a surge in coronavirus-themed malware and malicious software that’s targeting the growing number of people working from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Because home computers usually don’t have the same security safeguards employees had at the office, cybercriminals view them as fertile ground for infections.

“The hackers are out in force, and they know that everybody’s home, so I think working from home without appropriate security is a risk,” says Beth McCarty, owner of TeamLogic IT/Central Pinellas in Clearwater, Fla.

Phishing emails (fraudulent emails that appear to be from reputable companies) continue to prey on individuals, security experts warn, and many hackers impersonate charities with requests for money or personal information.

One reported scam purports to be an app by Johns Hopkins University that tracks the coronavirus; it urges people to download a file or to click on a link that contains malicious malware. Some cybercriminals are also hijacking video conferences and displaying pornography.

Check Point Software Technologies’ research shows that more than 4,000 coronavirus-related domains had been registered globally, with 3% found to be malicious and 5% labeled “suspicious.”

While companies offer in-house internet networks, many people working at home don’t have that same type of security in their home networks. Also, many households are now sharing devices among family members, and aren’t just using them for work. Children may be using devices to access classroom portals or for entertainment.

What can you do? “Make sure you change that default password on your router,” McCarty says. “Many people have not.”

She also recommends enabling encryption on the router, using two-factor authentication to access programs, not storing any company information on your personal device, and using only approved company storage.

She also urges the use of a virtual private network if available from your company.

Source: “The Rush to Work From Home Creates Opportunity – for Cybercriminals,” realtor.com® (March 24, 2020)

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