COVID: A Time for Increased InfoSec Awareness

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities 

Whether you are a fan of Charles Dickens or not, 2020 has been a year for dramatic change. The relationship between consumers and technology, people, and products has undergone a rapid evolution worldwide. 

In a time where an online connection is now a necessity – many companies, educational institutions, and small businesses have scrambled to meet the demands spurred by COVID-19. With the mad-rush towards digital connectivity, it can be easy to unknowingly assume the risk and become vulnerable to information security threats.

To honor National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we’ve comprised tips and resources to help you stay safe online.

Simple Ways to Avoid COVID Scams

The pandemic has spurred various behavioral, situation, and technological change. Unfortunately, criminals are using coronavirus fears as an opportunity to scam and extract personal and financial information. Here are a few ways you can avoid COVID-related scams.

  • Use trusted sources such as legitimate government websites for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19.
  • Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations. Review the Federal Trade Commission’s page on Charity Scams for more information.
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information in an email. 
  • Be extra suspicious of any message that urges immediate action.
  • If an unsolicited text message, email, or phone call asks you to update, check, or verify account information, do not follow the link provided. Instead, go to the company’s website directly to verify the authenticity of the request.
  • Examine the email address and URLs in all correspondence. Scammers often mimic a legitimate site or email address by using a slight variation in spelling.
  • Keep software up to date and use a good anti-virus program.

Sources: Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the National Cyber Security Alliance, and the FBI

Ways to Protect Your Children Online

The pandemic has caused people of all ages to spend more time online, whether for work, education, or entertainment. As day-to-day behaviors begin to normalize, many families search for ways to balance their children’s screentime. Here are a few ways you can help strike a balance between technology and reality.

  • Establish ground rules for age-appropriate online safety.
  • Schedule screen time limits for kids and devices. Use technology to your advantage – many devices, such as Apple, Android, and Google Chromebooks, make it easy for parents to set screentime and application-specific limits. 
  • Stay on top of information shared online and monitor what your kids are doing online. Limit access to websites with inappropriate content.
  • Set rules about using social media. Talk with your kids about what’s appropriate to share and encourage them to pay attention to how they feel before, during, and after using social media. Help set-up privacy features and content filters.

Sources: Norton Security, Consumer Reports, United States Department of Justice

Considerations for Companies and Small Businesses

From technology to security and marketing, 2020 has provided a unique business challenge for many – causing companies to take a long hard look at the processes and infrastructure they have in place to mitigate risk and ensure long-term growth.

Secure Your Online Presence

With over 25 years of technical experience, Website Design (WSD) routinely performs ‘website rescues,’ ensuring our client’s websites are securely hosted and maintained. We also provide robust security audits, full-service tech support, 24/7 emergency server coverage, and mission-critical support. Contact us to learn more about securing your online presence. 

GonePhishing Consulting

If you need scalable information security awareness education, checkout GonePhishing Consulting and read more about our story via the blog.  

Free Resources and Top InfoSec Blogs

Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC): A program that helps state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation and internet crimes against children. Find your local ICAC website here.  

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA): A governmental website that provides free, online, and downloadable resources to help you facilitate a variety of conversations at work and at home. Here is a link to their toolkit. 

Dark Reading: If you like a deep dive, this is a top news source and staple for everything Information Security.

Tripwire, Naked Security by Sophos, Norton Security: Are all high-end Information Security companies that post fantastic, timely, relevant blogs that make great subscribes. 

About WSD

WebSight Design is a Bay Area web design and development firm started in 1995. We build and manage websites for large corporations, as well as small and mid-size businesses looking to expand their reach. We specialize in search engine optimization, social media management, hosting, mobile development, and more.

Contact us today to see how WSD can take your business to the next level with our wide range of design, development, and internet marketing services.