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Monthly Archives: March 2020

Cybercriminals Exploiting Coronavirus

Public concern and working-from-home mandates are providing opportunities for cybercriminals.

This CFC advisory provides some background on these risks along with some easy-to-implement steps that businesses can follow to avoid falling victim.

COVID-19 increasingly being used in phishing attempts

As new cases of the COVID-19 Coronavirus continue to be reported daily, cybercriminals have been leveraging the situation to take advantage of those looking for information on the outbreak. Scams include the following and are changing each day:

  • The Sophos Security Team has spotted emails impersonating the World Health Organization (WHO). The emails ask victims to “click on the button below to download Safety Measure”. Users are then asked to verify their email by entering their credentials, redirecting those who fall for the scam to the legitimate WHO page, and delivering their credentials straight to the phisher.
  • Interpol has warned of a large increase in fraudulent websites claiming to sell masks, medical supplies and other high demand items that simply take money from victims and never deliver the promised goods. It is advisable that internet users purchase items only from established and reputable sources.
  • There have been reports of airlines and travel companies being impersonated by fraudsters in a bid to either obtain sensitive information, like passport numbers, or install malware on victims’ computers. They may say they want to advise you of COVID-19 infected passengers on past flights you’ve taken or offer discounts on future flights. When in doubt, we advise users to be vigilant when clicking on any links, delete any suspicious emails, and not disclose sensitive information if you are approached unexpectedly.
  • Fraudsters are also developing fake charitable donation campaigns which claim to help individuals and communities impacted by the Coronavirus. Any money donated is sent to fraudulent accounts. Again, if you are wanting to support relief efforts, make sure to research the organizations you are looking to donate to.
  • A Twitter user has identified another malware campaign purporting to be a “Coronavirus Update: China Operations”. The emails have attachments linking to malicious software.

As global concern about the coronavirus grows, it is likely that threat actors will continue to abuse this outbreak to their advantage.

Increased remote working can open gateway to hackers

Remote desktop protocol (RDP), when set up correctly, is a great tool for remote working. However, using it without multi-factor authentication (MFA) enabled or on an insecure network can open the gateway to hackers. In fact, in 2019, 80% of the ransomware attacks we handled were initiated through RDP.

Businesses that start using RDP for remote working during the outbreak should be aware of some of the cybersecurity risks it can pose and ensure it is being used securely. Employees should always log on within a trusted network and ideally work with their IT department to secure personal devices – and implement MFA – prior to remote working.

CFC recommendations

We suggest implementing the following steps to bolster security:

  1. Test remote log-in capabilitiesNot only should personal devices be configured for secure remote working, but business should ensure that multi-factor authentication (MFA) is set up immediately. MFA is an authentication process that requires more than just a password to protect an email account or digital identity and is used to ensure that a person is who they say they are by requiring a minimum of two pieces of unique data that corroborates their identity. Implementing this significantly reduces the chances of cybercriminals being able to log into a business’s RDP. For more information on MFA and how to implement it, click here.
  2. Train your employees on how to spot a phishing emailAs a CFC cyber policyholder, you can get free access to a range of risk management tools, including CyberRiskAware, an e-learning tool focusing on phishing attacks. This valuable tool teaches people within your business to be more vigilant when in comes to opening attachments, clicking on links, transferring money, or sending sensitive information. To find out more about it, including instructions on how to access it, click here.
  3. Prepare for operational disruption in advancePut simply, prepare for the worst. As with so many cyber incidents, time is of the essence so ensure you have an incident response plan in place, a template for which you can access for free as a CFC cyber policyholder. And as ever, if you believe that one of your employees has fallen victim or that you are experiencing any kind of cyber event, notify CFC as soon as possible so that we can help you.
  4. Finally, be vigilantWhat’s becoming clear as this pandemic plays out is that cybercriminals are shifting tactics daily. If you see something on social media or receive an unsolicited email that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Aside from learning how to spot phishing emails, make sure to do your research, use reputable companies, and follow-up requests for money or information with a phone call using a number from a separate, trusted source.

Source: www.cfcunderwriting.com


A Message on COVID-19

We want to take a moment and extend our well wishes to you and your families. As the growing concern around the spread of corona virus (COVID-19) is on all of our minds and everyday business functions are being challenged, ABEX is committed to working with our brokers to provide the best service we can under the circumstances.
The well-being and safety of our employees and our communities are our top priorities, so all of our employees currently work from home. As the situation unfolds, we will be monitoring recommendations from national health authorities and making adjustments as necessary.

Business as usual

  • We’ve invested in our infrastructure so that all of our staff are equipped to connect remotely into our secure network and continue to provide seamless service to our clients.
  • Our staff continue to be available via email and phone as most of our underwriters’ extensions are routed to their cell phones.
  • General voicemail is being monitored and emailed to respective recipients.

Possible delays

  • We will endeavor to remain operating to service our obligations, but our service may be delayed due to circumstances outside of our power.
  • A number of our UK partners are in the same situation so this may cause additional delays.

Broker payments

  • We continue to receive mail and courier so please continue sending in your payments.
  • We encourage our brokers to use / sign up for ClearPay which is the safest and most productive way of making a payment.
  • As a last resort, we will accept EFTs, even though they are not as safe as the above methods. Please contact accountsreceivable@abexinsurance.com for our EFT information.

Open market placements

  • If you are having difficulty collecting payments for open market placements please reach out to the underwriter on file or if unsure, contact us at service@abexinsurance.com and we will work with our syndicates to extend premium payment conditions.
  • For open market policies needing extensions, please ensure you give us enough notice, so that we can communicate to syndicates.

Renewals

  • Please ensure you give us enough notice on any changes so that we can communicate to syndicates accordingly.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.  Stay safe and we wish you the best as we navigate through these challenging circumstances.


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