As the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and General Community Quarantine (GCQ) continue, most workers do not have a choice but to work safely from their homes. We have to do our part in flattening the curve but, the coronavirus is not the sole adversary during these trying times. Unfortunately, a growing number of fraudsters also proliferate from time to time to gain access over one’s online account, stealing his/her personal identity and hard-earned money.
Scammers are stepping up into a higher extent of taking advantage of the lockdown period as most of the employees yield to work-from-home schemes to heed to the government’s call of avoiding the further contraction of the virus.
While it is true that cyberspace is a necessary tool to cope with this ‘new normal’ such as communicating with loved ones, carrying out online financial activities, and coordinating with workers, it also becomes a gateway for hackers to instill fear to the public and perpetrate cyber-related crimes.
Since the implementation of Luzon-wide quarantine, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and National Bureau of Investigation Cybercrime Division confirmed that there is a 100-percent increase in cybersecurity threats.
With these alarming perils, here are some tips on how to work safely from home:
- Make sure to install anti-virus software in your device. To protect your device from malware, you have to install powerful security solutions. This proactive measure helps you prevent compromising your work and data stored in your electronic devices.
- Be vigilant of COVID-19 related scams. It is no surprise that cybercriminals use the pandemic as a bait to deceive people. They usually send fake emails bearing the names of Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, and other government agencies that are involved in suppressing the risk of the virus. To avoid this cyberattack, you must double check the verified contact details, official website, and social media accounts of the said government agencies or better yet ignore the email at all.
- Do not share personal information in messages and social media. This is very crucial as some of the people tend to overshare everything about them in social media. Though it is true that we can do and say whatever we want in our personal accounts, we must be mindful of what we post to avoid compromising our identity and any other important information. Additionally, we must ignore suspicious links that require account number, credit card information, online banking username and password, and One-Time Pins (OTP). It could be just another case of cybercrime particularly phishing activity.
- Report immediately to the NBI Cybercrime Division if you happen to receive suspicious emails. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Anti-Fraud division is willing to help cybercrime victims as well as cater users’ concerns about these attacks. Reports on suspicious messages or emails can be reported to the NBI Operation Center at 0961-734-9450 or to the NBI Cybercrime Divisions at 85238231-38. Online users can also reach them through its official website at www.nbi.gov.ph or Facebook account.
This article is part of the Banker’s Association of the Philippines’ (BAP) #CyberSafe campaign, where the BAP aims to promote awareness in cybersecurity. The campaign will upload new posts tackling common web security questions and issues, on Wednesdays and Sundays every week.
For more content on cybersecurity, visit the BAP Official YouTube channel.