skip to main content
Business IQ

Watch out for COVID-19 remote work scams and phishing

Darren Pauli
Smarter Writer

Darren is an information security reporter with more than a decade's experience in the beat. He came to Telstra's cyber security unit after serving as an infosec correspondent for various tech-focused publications

Darren Pauli
Smarter Writer

Darren is an information security reporter with more than a decade's experience in the beat. He came to Telstra's cyber security unit after serving as an infosec correspondent for various tech-focused publications

Cybercriminals are targeting staff ordered to work from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with convincing phishing emails that reference the victim’s workplace.

Man checking receipts and working on a laptop

The email’s subject line, a malicious link, and a sign-off signature include the domain found in the intended victim’s email address – for example, the ‘Telstra’ in our own email addresses.

The URLs, however, are just a mirage. When opened, they launch a different URL loading a page that resembles a Microsoft Office 365 login screen. Any usernames and passwords typed into this fake Office 365 login screen will be captured by the scammer.

Cybercriminals may sell those logins to other hackers or use them in a bid to access email, documents, and other data.

It is important to note that phishing emails rapidly change their contents (known as pretext), URLs, and sending addresses to avoid detection and blocking.

Therefore, this phishing example should be considered a current attack that may slightly or significantly change in the coming days or weeks.

We have been working hard with the Federal Government’s Australian Cyber Security Centre to block new malicious domains as they surface to protect customers across mobile and broadband services.

Look out for COVID-19 scams online

Cybercriminals are increasingly capitalising on the COVID-19 outbreak to make their phishing attacks more attractive. Attacks have occurred over email and SMS, and included dangerous malware embedded in Word documents.

Yet regular phishing emails faking missed packages, tax bills, and account recovery remain more numerous and successful. Telstra Cyber Security has observed those attacks snagging tens of thousands of victims from government, enterprise, and small businesses, and across all sectors and countries.

Anyone who fills out their logins on the malicious page should immediately alert their cyber security or IT teams, and change their Office passwords.

Multi-factor (or two-factor) authentication should also be enabled wherever possible. This defence requires a code, often generated in an app or sent via email, to be entered along with the usual username and password.

Consumers can use multi-factor authentication for Microsoft and Google products, along with all major social media sites. A comprehensive list can be found here.

Worried about potential online attacks?

Telstra Business Cyber Security Services can help to protect your business.

Find out moreWorried about potential online attacks?

Young man online shopping
Trends
'Buy now, pay later': Could it help boost your business?

Today, the way your customers expect to book and buy online is more diverse than ever. As a small or medium business, this brings a new opportunity to strengthen your online pr...

Business owner and trainee working on a desktop computer
Business IQ
Business IQ
Federal Budget 2021: 5 opportunities for small businesses

Bill Lang, Executive Director of Small Business Australia, shares his take on the key opportunities for small businesses following the Federal Budget 2021 announcement – with a...

Online review options
Trends
Are you harnessing the power of online reviews?

Before choosing to buy, customers are turning to online reviews to see how a business fares. Discover how skillfully managing feedback online can give customers more reason to ...

John Ball Country Manager of Google Customer Solutions AUNZ
Business IQ
Business IQ
4 ways to reach more customers with Google’s business tools

John Ball, Country Manager of Google Customer Solutions AUNZ, shares his four tips to reach more customers with Google’s suite of business tools.