Muhammad-Khaled,-Senior-Solution-Acronis leader - phishing scams -TECHx

Acronis leader shares tips to avoid vaccine-related phishing scams

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On Safer Internet Day, cyber-protection leader, Muhammad Khaled, Senior Solution Engineer, Acronis Middle East advises on how to avoid vaccine-related internet scams and Covid-19 phishing with three simple steps.

“Subject: Vaccination within 2 hours available near you here…

Note: This is very likely to be a phishing scam. Do not open the email unless you know the sender.”

Stay alert on growing cyber-attacks, phishing scams, and privacy breaches as 2021 will most probably be the year of extortion for both businesses and individuals. Similar to the coronavirus that continues to spread as a potentially lethal pathogen, phishing scams and viruses are spreading as scammers have come out to take advantage of the situation and your fear. While UAE remains a safer haven, it is also a target for scammers for the sheer number of internet users which according to consultancy DataReportal was 9.73 million as of January 2020 with an internet penetration rate of 99 percent.

Candid Wüest, VP Cyber Protection Research at Acronis says: “In the case of coronavirus and the vaccination, we are already seeing phishing emails that claim to have information on the topics, but in fact contain links or attachments that contain malware.” When an email or text message reaches a mobile phone or computer with information, video, or photos on such an important and eye-catching topic, it can relax the usual caution to click. The next thing that happens is that a ransomware infection encrypts all data, applications, and systems, and spreads throughout the company or individual’s network. This cynical exploitation of a global health emergency which has only been increasing since 2020 and the start of the pandemic provides a helpful reminder that threats are everywhere, physically and digitally.”

Three quick tips to avoid phishing scams:

1. Be wary of communications from people you don’t know or don’t trust:

That is getting more and more challenging these days. Many of us have to process thousands of messages daily at work, and time pressure can lower our security defenses. What’s worse, phishing scammers are getting better at creating trustworthy-looking emails, increasingly with the help of artificial intelligence, often targeting specific people with details gleaned from social media and other online sources. As a general rule of thumb, if the subject of an email touches on an issue that concerns you, be careful. Cybercriminals know that pushing users’ emotions increases their chances of a successful phishing submission.

2. Implement a cyber protection awareness training program:

If you have a risk management function in your organization, be it legal, IT, security, or compliance, consider implementing a cybersecurity awareness training program. A typical component of this is the regular distribution of harmless phishing emails to employees. Anyone who clicks on them receives follow-up emails showing missed phishing alerts and reminding them to be more vigilant. Other bulletin boards in the program include updates on the company’s IT security and compliance policies, tips on safer online browsing behaviors, and more. These can be of value to everyone, as almost everyone needs an occasional reminder of the dos and don’ts of basic security.

3. Get your business #CyberFit with cyber protection tools:

Finally, consider upgrading your traditional backup regimen to cyber protection – a combination of data protection and cybersecurity with anti-malware. This will provide you with a safety net against the most destructive and widespread types of malware that commonly use phishing as an attack vector, especially ransomware. If someone in your organization falls for a phishing scam, coronavirus-themed or not, these defensive measures can save you from days or weeks of costly data loss and downtime that threatens your business.

For businesses or individuals who need help with cyber protection, Acronis is simply a click or call away.

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