Bruce Kerr issues a warning about the internet scams to look out for
Bruce Kerr issues a warning about the internet scams to look out for

Stark warning of cyber attacks for CQ workers amid pandemic

CENTRAL Queenslanders have never been at more risk of a cyber attack then now during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Working from home has seen many spending up to 40 hours a week behind a home-based computer.

Kerr Solutions IT owner and manager Bruce Kerr said this had created many security challenges for people and their employers as they were no longer behind secure company routers and protection systems.

Mr Kerr said people may be even using their own home computer to log into work systems which further lacked the security of a properly maintained business network.

“Since the social distancing that COVID-19 has created, scammers and computer hackers have been having a field day with the increased Internet activity that is now largely less protected,” he said.

“We have seen a huge increase in phishing emails and man-in-the-middle attacks, as well as the rise of COVID-19 based phone scams. When you are behind a proper business grade Internet router, many of these scams are automatically filtered and blocked. Also, most smart businesses have effective email filters that block most fraudulent emails.

“However, there is never a blanket guarantee that all Internet threats will be blocked. It is still up to the user to exercise a degree of caution and logic. I say this because many of the victims of various scams that we talk to say it happened because they were tired or stressed or in a hurry.

“You should not be checking a large number of new emails if you are in this state of mind. You should always be thinking whether this next email is legitimate or just a ploy for my details and money.”

Mr Kerr said he cannot remember any time in the last 22 years that they been as busy at work as the last three months.

He said they were recommending Trend Micro Internet Security, sold for $65 and covers three PC’s for one year, for home users doing Internet banking.

“For maximum protection for home users and for businesses we recommend a corporate Anti-virus that also reports back to us in the form of Trend Worry Free Business Security, which is $10 a month and covers one PC and two portable devices,” he said. “This software can also track a lost or stolen mobile and remotely lock or wipe it.

“Everyone should also be considering more secure email systems. Currently the most secure is Microsoft’s Office 365 Hosted Email System with two factor authentication setup.

“We have a standard security ‘recipe’ that includes this email system, the Trend corporate Anti-virus and MailGuard which offers a best of class email spam/phishing block and filtering system.”

As a minimum, Mr Kerr suggested users have a paid for Anti-virus program, their computer kept up to date, a web-based email such as Gmail or Outlook, a complex email password and constant vigilance when checking emails.

“Also don’t fall into the trap of thinking that two or three Anti-virus programs are better than one as they often stop each other from working and don’t believe that a well written email with authentic logos such as your banks’ is legitimate,” he said.

“If in doubt call the organisation that is asking you for details and always call a supplier if their banking details have changed on an invoice.”