by Chloe Gunn
Catalyst are seeing COVID-related cyber-attacks rapidly increasing. Not only is there a surge in phishing emails, but the phishing attacks are becoming far more sophisticated.
Dashboards relating to COVID are being compromised and controlled by attackers to spread malware, steal credentials or track users. There are convincing imitations of existing dashboards, including maps and real COVID data, aiming to trick users.
There are malicious COVID-themed Android applications which install ransomware. Dashboards are being linked from phishing emails and many links are being propagated by ads. Be pro-active and cautious regarding any links and attachments. Trust only official and highly reputable sources. And if in doubt contact the security team.
Digital isolation has its complexities compared to physical isolation, so there are tools like browser extensions to help us. We recommend you install the following extensions from official sources: an adblocker, a tracking protector and anencryption enforcing extension.
'uBlock Origin' is an adblocking extension which can stop 'drive-by' attacks from ads, where malware is installed on your machine without any interaction on your part, other than visiting a compromised webpage.
The security team at Catalyst recommends Firefox, because of an increased focus on user privacy (and freedom).
Firefox also has an extensive browser add-on ecosystem that can help you secure your online activities. In addition to Ublock origin, we recommend:
- Privacy Badger is an extension that prevents being tracked by websites that you visit
- HTTPS Everywhere is an extension to protect your communications by enabling HTTPS encryption automatically on sites that are known to support it, even when you type URLs or follow links that omit the https: prefix.
For those of you at home that may use Windows, be aware that there are many more malware attacks targeted against this platform. You must keep your anti-virus and operating system up-to-date.
Stay safe with the online equivalent of washing your hands. And, don't forget you can download and print our original security art work, decorate that home office!
For more information about online security, see:
Catalyst is a New Zealand owned and operated company where openness, long term relationships, community and diversity are essential characteristics of how we do business. Since 1997, Catalyst has been enabling success with expert open source solutions, and clients all over the world trust us with their mission-critical systems.