Cybersecurity in the Time of COVID-19: How to Detect an Email Virus

Jonesen TeamIndustry Insights

Reporters began warning us of Coronavirus-themed phishing attacks in the United States back in February. Since then, there’s been an uptick in domain names and emails registered with Coronaviris, COVID-19, WHO, and CDC terminology. Many of these new sites are being used in email scams.

With so many businesses working from home in an attempt to flatten the curve, people who aren’t comfortable with technology are being forced to rely on it for everything. This makes them even more vulnerable to getting an email virus or falling prey to a malware attack.

How can you protect your business and your employees from COVID-19 cyberattacks? By learning how to identify the signs of an email virus. Read on for all the basics you need to steer clear of fishy emails.

Suspicious Senders

The general best practice when it comes to emails is not to open anything that comes from senders you don’t recognize. What happens, though, if you get an email that appears to be trustworthy, but is really from a malicious source?

Many of the latest email viruses are being sent out from sites that claim to be the WHO, CDC, or other benevolent organizations. It’s become such a problem that the World Health Organization (WHO) had to release an official statement on their site warning people to steer clear of fake WHO email scams asking for “donations”.

If you didn’t sign up for that entity’s newsletter, they probably didn’t send you an email. This is especially true if they’re asking for money or personal information.

Check the sender’s address before opening the email and confirm that it’s an exact match by visiting the organization’s real website. If it doesn’t line up, send the email straight to the trash.

Be Wary of Links

Let’s say you open an email that looks like it’s legitimate—the CDC is giving you updates on cases in your area or a business is telling you about their COVID-19 policy. Within the email is a link sending you to a survey, a location-specific page, or a donation site. What should you do?

Don’t click the link. Phishing viruses, ransomware, malware, and trojan horses—some of the biggest cybersecurity threats around—can all lurk behind a seemingly innocent email link. When you click one of these links, it can download a virus to your computer and harvest sensitive personal information.

Look for Errors and Vague Language

Finally, always keep an eye out for misspellings, grammatical errors, generic greetings, and vague language. The email may also attempt to create a sense of urgency, begging you to open it or click the link before “time runs out”.

Legitimate organizations take the time to personalize their correspondence and make sure it’s polished before sending it off. If you’re addressed as “Dear Sir or Madam” or they only call you by your email address, especially if other warning signs are present, it’s likely a scam.

Protecting Your Company From the Dangers of an Email Virus

Knowing the signs of an email virus won’t do your business any good if you don’t share what you’ve learned with the rest of your team. On your next video call, take some time to give everyone a refresher course on email safety with the points mentioned above.

Are you ready to ramp up your online security, web design, or hosting to keep your website safe? If so, we’d love to chat. Send us a message today to get started.