By Cameron Abbott and Keely O’Dowd

There has never been a better time to #WashYourCyberHands.

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided the perfect breeding ground for cyber criminals to capitalise on, and exploit the outbreak of the virus to steal data, commit fraud and circulate online scams. Law enforcement agencies and the cybersecurity industry have seen an increase in the number of targeted cyberattacks by criminals since the outbreak began.

INTERPOL has announced it is launching a global campaign to raise awareness about the top coronavirus related cyber threats throughout the globe. The campaign will provide basic cyber hygiene advice to businesses and individuals on how to ‘wash your cyber hands’ and protect systems and data from cyber threats.

To kick off the campaign, INTERPOL has released a publication ‘Global landscape on COVID-19 cyberthreat’. The publication highlights the rise in a number of COVID-19 related scams and malicious activity. It is clear from this publication cyber criminals are leveraging opportunities provided by the coronavirus pandemic.

To mitigate these risks and practice good cyber hygiene, INTERPOL recommends:

  • backing up online and offline files regularly and securely;
  • strengthening your home network;
  • using strong passwords;
  • keeping your software updated;
  • managing social media profiles;
  • checking privacy and security settings;
  • avoiding opening and delete suspicious emails or attachments.

In addition, we also recommend using two factor authentication wherever possible – an easy mitigation to implement but can be overlooked.

Even during these challenging times, now is not the time to be complacent about cybersecurity. For instance, the Australian Federal Police are investigating fraudulent activity related to the Australian Government’s early access to superannuation scheme. According to reports, up to 150 potential victims may have been impacted by the alleged fraud, where superannuation money has been paid out fraudulently via the unlawful use of personal details.   #WashYourCyberHands

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