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The coronavirus danger no one is talking about: Widespread cyberattacks

Millions of Americans are stuck at home, looking for ways to cope with this frightening situation that we’re in. Many are turning to the internet for entertainment to take their minds off the coronavirus, if only for a short time.

People across the country are finding ways to stay busy, from listening to podcasts to video chatting with family and friends. Of course, all this activity brings cybercriminals out in full force and we’ve already seen tons of coronavirus-related scams out there. Tap or click here for a list of scams to avoid.

Now, there is another frightening problem looming to add to the plate of fear we’re all dining on. Officials are warning that potentially deadly cyberattacks could be launched during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cybersecurity matters now, more than ever

It’s not just fun and games people are seeking out online these days. They’re also looking for updated details and information from official organizations to help navigate this crisis. Tap or click here for trusted Twitter feeds to follow for factual coronavirus news.

This is where a major potential problem lies. With more and more people spending excessive amounts of time online, cybercriminals are salivating at the feast of insecure networks all around them.

Officials with the World Economic Forum (WEF) sounded the alarm this week, warning about the possibility of cyberattacks that could wreak real havoc and even lead to deaths. Think about all the essential tools we’re using on the internet these days and how a cyberattack would impact all of us.

For example, many companies are having employees work from home, and organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are constantly posting critical information online.

WEF explained:

“In today’s unprecedented context, a cyberattack that deprives organizations or families of access to their devices, data or the internet could be devastating and even deadly; In a worst-case scenario, broad-based cyberattacks could cause widespread infrastructure failures that take entire communities or cities offline, obstructing healthcare providers, public systems and networks.”

We’ve already seen an attempted major cyberattack earlier this month. Officials with the World Health Organization said elite hackers tried to break into its system.

In fact, it’s happened more than once. WHO’s Chief Information Security Officer told Reuters that hacking attempts against the agency and its partners have soared since the coronavirus outbreak began a few months ago.

You may also like: This coronavirus tracking map will tell you how many cases are in your state

It’s times like these that the worst of the worst in society come out to take advantage of others. They are using people’s fears over the coronavirus to trick victims into clicking malicious links in phishing emails or spoofed websites that lead to stolen credentials or infected devices with malware or ransomware.

That’s why it’s so important to stay alert and take cybersecurity seriously.

How to protect against cyberattacks

Staying protected against COVID-19 takes some extra precautions, including washing your hands regularly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds and practicing social distancing. You also need to take some extra security precautions to avoid falling victim to coronavirus-related cyberattacks.

Here are some ways to keep your networks safe.

Use strong passwords for everything

Make sure you have strong passwords for each and every one of your accounts, not just during this pandemic. Also, never use the same password for multiple accounts because if you do and one site gets breached, then every account with the same credentials is at risk, too.

If you struggle to create stronger passwords, we can help. Tap or click here for 5 rules to create the best passwords.

Online accounts aren’t the only places you need to update passwords, though. We recently learned that hackers have found a way to break into some popular home routers. Tap or click here for the details.

Be cautious with links

We’re all trying to stay informed with the latest COVID-19 information. But you need to be careful where you find that data. Cybercriminals are spoofing websites and messages, hoping to trick people into clicking on malicious links.

One thing to keep in mind is the CDC and WHO will not send you email updates on the coronavirus out of the blue. If you get an email or text claiming to be from either organization, don’t click links or attachments that are included.

That’s actually great advice for any unsolicited email you receive. If you get emails from companies you do business with, it’s better to type their web addresses directly into your browser, rather than follow a link from a message that could be malicious.

If you need to contact your bank, call the number on the back of your credit or debit card to know it’s the official phone number.

Keep your apps and devices updated and back up your data

As always, it’s important to keep your apps and devices current with the latest updates. Most updates come with security patches that block hackers from taking advantage of known vulnerabilities. With so many threats lurking now, it’s critical to keep everything up to date.

With the threat of cyberattacks spiking, it’s also a good idea to back up all of your critical files with a company that you can trust. We recommend IDrive.

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With a little bit of extra effort and consistently sticking with safe practices, we’ll all make it through this pandemic together. Everyone at will do our best to help keep you informed with the latest information.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.

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