Cyber security threats increased exponentially in 2020, ranging from fraudulent COVID charities to email phishing to extortion scams. Protecting your personal and business risks is highly important so that you avoid financial disruptions.
According to FBI Assistant Director Tonya Ugoretz, the number of reports to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) increased 300% to 400% compared to the months prior to the start of the pandemic. Reports normally averaged approximately 1,000 per month and grew to 3,000 to 4,000 per month. Not all complaints are related directed to the pandemic, Ugoretz further explained at an Aspen Institute online conference, and businesses and individuals should be prepared in advance so that they do not fall prey.
The US National Counterintelligence and Security Center also recently warned consumers in a Tweet that “With supply chains in turmoil during COVID-19, many organizations are turning to alternate vendors and suppliers. Some vendors may be insecure or compromised by threat actors seeking to access your data. Adversaries increasingly use third-party suppliers as attack vectors.”
At Shafer Insurance Agency, we follow a developed protocol to ensure the safety of our business and the clients that we protect. “Anytime a suspicious email is reported by any team member, we inform the full team so everyone is aware and vigilant,” said Andy Shafer, president. “Our colleagues regularly participate in ongoing trainings so they’ll be able to quickly spot a risky approach. We also implement a financial verification process, which requires verbal dual team member confirmation prior to bank transactions.”
Additional steps you can take include:
Risk avoidance is vital for the continued cyber security of your personal life and your business. By implementing pro-active steps now, you may save financial and emotional hardship in the future.
Aspen Institute, “Fight Back: Stopping Cyber Criminals During a Pandemic.” April 2020, virtual online conference
FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center, Consumer Alerts
US National Counterintelligence and Security Center, Twitter, April 2020