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Tips to Avoid Cyberattacks during the COVID-19 Pandemic

In this difficult and unprecedented time, it is important to stay informed not only to remain healthy but also to protect yourself against falling victim to cyberattacks.

We are familiar with common cyberattacks such as phishing schemes, ransomware, and the long-running Nigerian lottery email scam. We may even feel comfortable with our ability to spot these threats, and companies have adapted their policies and practices to help defend against them. Unfortunately, cyberattackers devise more elaborate attacks every day and often use specific information or current events to increase the efficacy and spread of an attack.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has warned bad actors are now using the COVID-19 pandemic to, “send emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes.” A Johns Hopkins COVID-19 data map operating as an interactive dashboard of COVID-19 infections and deaths was used to spread malware.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr warns criminals have used the following scams to profit through the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Individuals and businesses selling fake cures for COVID-19 online and engaging in other forms of fraud;
  • Phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
  • Malicious websites and apps appearing to share virus-related information to gain and lock access to your devices until payment is received; and
  • Seeking donations fraudulently for illegitimate or non-existent charitable organizations.

Proactive steps to protect yourself and your organization

We recommend taking the following precautions to help prevent falling victim to a COVID-19 related scam;

  • Avoid clicking on links and opening attachments in unsolicited emails;
  • Stay updated on  COVID-19 news and developments by using trusted sources including Dinsmore’s COVID-19 Business Strategies Hub,  the CDC, and  WHO;
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information;
  • Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations; and
  • Exercise caution in handling any email with a Coronavirus or COVID-19-related topic.
© 2020 Dinsmore & Shohl LLP. All rights reserved.

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About this Author

Kurt R. Hunt, Dinsmore Shohl, Regulatory Compliance Attorney, Corporate Transactions Lawyer, Ohio,
Associate

Kurt focuses his practice on telecommunications and public utilities law, advising clients on general corporate and administrative issues, regulatory compliance, transactions, privacy obligations, and intellectual property matters. He is also an experienced litigator, and routinely represents clients in state and federal courts, as well as before administrative agencies and public utility commissions.

Knowing that public utilities operate inside a highly-regulated and specialized environment, Kurt is adept at tailoring his approach to fit each...

(513) 977-8101
Leanthony Edwards, Dinsmore Law Firm, Intellectual Property Attorney
Associate

Leanthony is a member of our Intellectual Property Department, where he focuses on trademarks, technology transactions/licensing and privacy. His experience includes assisting clients with social media, trademarks and contract matters dealing with technology.

He has knowledge and experience in the area of privacy law and obtained Certified Information Privacy Professional U.S. certification through the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

Leanthony earned his J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and his B.A. in Political Science from California State University San Bernardino. His prior work experience includes interning for State Assemblyman Mike Morrel’s office in California.

513-977-8430