covid-19

COVID-19 survival guide for your digital life

As we are stuck at home to avoid exposure to COVID-19, with online work, socialization, and even education. Cybercriminals see an infinite number of ways to take advantage of the situation.

Suddenly we found ourselves living entirely online. Never before has the interconnected world, and our ability to communicate, socialize, work, and make transactions online, have been so important and protagonist. Although the ability to do so much online is extraordinary, the reality is that cybercriminals follow where people go. If there is an opportunity to exploit a situation and induce people to disclose personal data or give up their money. You can be sure that cybercriminals will work on it.

We have already seen examples of malware related to the new coronavirus 2019, aka COVID-19. That tries to exploit the virus, hiding malicious files in documents that seem to refer to the disease. However, the opportunities that endanger our online lives do not end there.

Streaming

The past weekends have already seen the highest levels of online streaming ever. With millions of people who would normally be out socializing in bars and restaurants instead of necessarily staying at home. These put a strain on streaming services and forced some of the major companies to lower the quality of content to try to minimize slowdowns. However, this will undoubtedly lead some people to look for alternatives to access online content.

Either way, moving away from protected streaming sites and services for movies, games and other content plays in cybercrime’s favor. As tempting as it is to find other content sources, we recommend being patient. Stick to trusted streaming services and follow these tips for safe online streaming:

  1. Use reliable sources, services for which you have a subscription. Check the format of the URL and the spelling of the company name before downloading anything. Fake websites may look just like real ones, but there will be anomalies that will help you spot the difference;
  2. Pay attention to the extension of the downloaded file. Video files must not end with .exe;
  3. Be very careful if you use torrents. For example, look for comments on downloadable files, and if you see comments that are unrelated to content, they are probably malware;
  4. Protect the devices you use for streaming and make sure to update the operating system and applications as soon as they are available;
  5. Avoid the links that promise the advance viewing of the contents and, if you have doubts about the authenticity of the contents. Consult your entertainment service provider;
  6. If possible, use a credit card for payments, but try to avoid saving your card details on the streaming site;
  7. Use a unique and complex password for each of your online accounts.

Online Shopping impacted in Covid-19

The demand for online shopping services is already on the rise, as people want to buy food, entertainment and other goods online. This, coupled with boredom shopping, and advantageous offers from retailers trying to stay afloat while the economy is facing a heavy hit, means that cybercriminals will be lurking.

The peak moments of shopping see a corresponding increase in malware and phishing attacks related to shopping. Because online criminals love to take the opportunity to entice people with offers that often seem too good to be true. And that’s usually what happens. For this reason, we advise consumers to be very vigilant right now and to remember these tips when shopping online and opening e-mails from online retailers:

  1. Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true, they are usually scams;
  2. Enter the URL in your browser to check the offer on the website, instead of clicking on the links in the e-mails;
  3. Check for the lock icon / HTTPS in the address bar at checkout. Keep in mind, however, that this lock means security only if the website address is correct, so it is better to double check!
  4. Use a credit card rather than a debit card for greater protection in payments;
  5. Avoid saving your card details on a site;
  6. Protect the devices used for shopping  and make sure to install patches and updates as soon as possible;
  7. Use a unique and complex password for each of your online accounts.

Avoid Fake news in Covid-19

False news is nothing new; we have seen how they have affected significant events in the past. During national and global crises, however, the issue and impact of fake news spreading in Covid-19 are more true than ever. At this time, it is particularly important to pay attention to the source and validity of the information before sharing it or acting accordingly.

We have already seen bad news on anti-inflammatory drugs circulating on various media, including WhatsApp, social networks, and also through valid online news sites. The spread of fake news will only slow down. Complicate the efforts made to disclose useful and essential information and advice. For this reason, we recommend users to be very careful in verifying the information. They use and share to avoid aggravating the problem.

  1. Trust only recognized and reputable news sites;
  2. Try to verify the information transmitted by word of mouth, including messaging applications and social networks;
  3. If you can’t verify the information, don’t share it. Be responsible for the information you transmit or report.

Sarah Johnson is a Hulu Activation expert and I am working in the technology industry for the last 5 years. As a technical expert, I wrote technical blogs, white papers, and reviews for many websites such as www.hulu.com/activate

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