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McAfee's Samani: COVID-19 a 'Fraudster's Playground'

Strong cyber hygiene remains critical to fight cybercrime.

Edward Gately

August 18, 2020

2 Min Read
Rise in phishing
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McAfee fellow and chief scientist Raj Samani says cybercriminals wasted no time taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses quickly shifted from most employees working in an office to working from home. And in the rush to continue with business as usual, many had to take some shortcuts with security.

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McAfee’s Raj Samani

That gave cybercriminals ample opportunity to pounce, attacking organizations of all sizes with ransomware, fraud and scams.

During a Channel Partners Virtual presentation titled “COVID-19: A Fraudster’s Playground,” Sept. 10, Samani will outline the threat space associated with COVID-19. He’ll also share how cybercriminals use the pandemic for their own selfish profit.

In a Q&A with Channel Futures, Samani provides a preview of the information he’ll share with attendees.

Channel Futures: What are some of the ways cybercriminals have successfully taken advantage of the pandemic?

Raj Samani: Simply by using COVID-19 as a lure, cybercriminals have been able to trick victims into opening malicious files, or install apps on their mobile devices that promise critical information, but do nothing more than steal information. McAfee is tracking these threats in our COVID-19 Threat Dashboard, updated daily.

Raj Samani of McAfee is one of dozens of industry speakers who will “take the stage” at Channel Partners Virtual. Our online trade show is Sept. 8-10. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind event. Register now!

CF: Have things improved or worsened since the pandemic started?

RS: Broadly speaking, the rush to get online for many businesses is a key positive. However, in certain cases, this rush has been done without appropriate attention being placed on security. It is remarkable to consider how global industry, that traditionally may not have been that far along their digital journey, were able to achieve so much so quickly. But of course doing so has resulted in many opening up unnecessary vulnerabilities into their systems.

CF: Has the pandemic prompted new types of attacks or just an increased volume in attacks?

RS: It has not been a revolution. It is still very much the same types of things we witnessed before (e.g. phishing, malicious apps/URLs, etc.) but the volume has been considerably higher.

CF: What aren’t organizations doing that they should be doing to protect themselves as the pandemic continues?

RS: Strong cyber hygiene remains critical. For example, restricting the use of remote desktop protocol (RDP) or at least securing it, multifactor authentication (MFA), etc.

CF: What do you hope attendees learn and can make use of from your presentation?

RS: Criminals continue, even during a pandemic. Attendees will get a unique insight into the threatscape that is in operation today, but more importantly take away the key learnings on how to reduce the likelihood of being a victim themselves.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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