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Never one to let a bad thing get in the way of a good opportunity, hackers are using the coronavirus crisis to target South Dakota businesses and employees. Cybercriminals are scamming South Dakotans out of their hard-earned cash or sensitive information and building the narrative around COVID-19. Now more than ever, businesses need to help their team recognize a phishing attempt before it’s too late.
Recently, Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg reminded South Dakotans to be aware of scam artists using the fear and confusion of the current coronavirus emergency to take advantage of and to find new victims. In his press release he noted: “Sadly, with every national emergency or disaster, con artists will be trying to take advantage of people during this time of need… Please verify anyone soliciting you while claiming to represent a charity or aid organization. When in doubt request extra verification, ask more questions, and contact our Division of Consumer Protection.” It’s time to make data security a top priority for your organization.
Here are some of the scams cybercriminals and hackers are targeting South Dakota with.
1. Phishing emails: Pay particular attention to the source of emails. Emails that appear to come from legitimate government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control, are popular amongst phishers seeking to gain access to your sensitive information. If you’re not sure of where the email came from, don’t open it. Here are some tips to identify if an email is a security risk.
2. Miracle cures: Ignore phone calls, emails, advertising or mail items offering a miracle cure for, or protection against, the coronavirus. There currently is no vaccine or cure for COVID-19 and anyone offering such a cure is operating a con. Don’t fall for it.
3. Charging for COVID-19 testing: Don’t be fooled by calls or text messages claiming that you are required to pay for testing or to provide personal information as part of a government response to the coronavirus. Verify the location and service before you provide any personal information.
4. Google Scams: Businesses should be aware that older tricks such as the Google scam are prevalent at this time too. The recorded message asks you to verify your Google account and that failure to do so will result in your business name being dropped from Google. As most people have their Google accounts linked, if a hacker gains access to one, they have access to all, including their business email, unless you have robust security protocols in place.
It’s important to ensure that all of your online accounts have 2-factor authentication enabled, and that you don’t use the same password twice. On top of that, a real Google rep will never ask you for your password.
5. Fake Charities: Be careful of unauthorized or fraudulent charities or solicitations. Scammers will create fake charities to try to solicit donations during a crisis. Once they gain access to your financial credentials, they can do serious damage to your credit or even drain your bank account.
As you can see, AG Ravnsborg is certainly correct about the variety of methods bad actors will employ to take advantage of a bad situation. However, with the proper training your team doesn’t have to be an easy mark. Whether it’s your remote workforce or in-house team, phishing training has to be a priority.
By using these simple steps you can increase your organization's ability to resist cyberattacks, regardless of what form they come in. Additionally KT Connections can provide your business with a wealth of tips and tools to keep your data protected and on the right side of South Dakota’s Data Breach Notification Law. For more information on how we can help you, call 605-341-3873 and schedule an appointment today.