THE National Cyber Security Centre has reported an increase in targeted attacks, primarily focusing on opportunities that have arose with the increase with working pressure, fear, remote working and lack of resourcing.

For individuals and businesses, this is typically isolated to phishing attacks exploiting the current COVID-19 fears and suggesting to the recipient that their friend or family has contracted the virus, and they require payment for treatment.

Many attackers are using the current situation to exploit weakness, urgency, trust and fear to tailor attacks, and have the recipient either open an attachment, visit a malicious website, make payment or even to harvest account information. It can sometimes be difficult to dismiss these threats, as we are instinctively inclined to react if we are faced with a need to react, help or donate or act on something.

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Guidance from the NCSC suggest following standard phishing mitigation guidance to alleviate these threats. To add to this, it is important to ignore any claims that are communicated to you via email, and follow government guidance at all times, to avoid falling into a scam or trap in already somewhat uncertain times.

Microsoft has recently warned dozens of hospitals to update their systems, surrounding a concern that attackers may be able to exploit security flaws in older software and operating systems. This same advice is echoed to businesses too, and we encourage everyone to ensure that they have the latest updates applied, where possible, and to sanity check any external connections (e.g. your VPN) to make sure it is secure.