Our lives have certainly changed in this COVID world. Our daily routines have been upended, as has the way we work – many of us are now working from home and relying more on technology.
With more of us using Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, and social media networks, we are also experiencing increases in cyber-attacks. One was at the Canada Revenue Service (CRA), when fraudsters took advantage of login credentials exposed through previous hacks to compromise the personal information of thousands of Canadians.
This is a good time to review the basics of online safety. I’m sure you have protocols implemented through your workplace and/or school but here are a few more tips to reduce your risk.
Keep devices secure and up-to-date
Check to make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date. Turn on your auto security updates, and firewall.
Device security includes all your Internet devices. Check, and perhaps change your passwords.
Use Wi-Fi encryption options for access. Wireless access points often require passwords to gain access to the network. You should take advantage of this feature to ensure only authorized users are on your home network.
Secure your identity, guard your privacy
Protect your digital identity. Use strong passwords or, if possible, biometric authentication like your face or fingerprint, and wherever possible enable multi-factor authentication (MFA). Google and Microsoft both offer free MFA applications that are easy to set up and use.
Be careful in online chats and conferencing services. We are spending more time in virtual meetings and on video calls, so make sure you know:
Who can access or join the meeting/call?
Can it be recorded? If yes, do all participants know?
Are chats preserved and shared?
If there is file sharing, where are those files stored?
Use background blur or images to obscure your location. You can use the features on video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams to blur or change your background.
Be aware of phishing and identity scams
Microsoft has observed cybercriminals using new lures related to the coronavirus outbreak and are being indiscriminate in their targeting. So, stay vigilant whether at work or at home. Here are a couple of observed attack methods to keep top of mind:
Attackers are looking to steal your digital identity. Beware of unexpected websites and applications asking you to sign in with your credentials. If you did not initiate any request, do not verify it.
Phishing is still out there. Be wary of offers that are too good to be true.
Beware of tech support scams. These are industry-wide issues where scammers use scare tactics to try and trick you into paying for unnecessary services that supposedly fix a device, operating system, or software.
At TMG, we care about your privacy and keep your personal information as secure as possible through our proprietary state-of-the art technology. As attackers evolve, you can be confident that we will continue to take all necessary steps so that your information stays safe and as secure as possible.
If you have any questions, let’s talk.
CATHY MCMURRICH (403)-660-1169 - THE MORTGAGE GROUP