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7 Ways COVID-19 Has Changed Our Online Lives

The pandemic has driven more of our personal and work lives online – and for the bad guys, business is booming. Here's how you can protect yourself.
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Millions of us have been bound by stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In turn, the number of us participating in online shopping, videoconferencing, telehealth calls, and online learning has increased exponentially. It seems like we're all looking for clever ways to share music or watch movies remotely with friends.

But another reality we all must face: Business has never been better for the bad guys because there are so many more people to attack. For example, TransUnion found a 23% increase in e-commerce once social distancing became widespread and the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.

The fallout includes a rise in business email compromises, according to the FBI. And the Transunion research found 22% of Americans 18 years and older have been targeted by digital fraud related to COVID-19.

"There's so much more traffic right now, and the fraudsters look for these kinds of high-volume events the same way they do during Black Friday or Cyber Monday," says Angie White, senior product marketing manager at TransUnion.

To be sure, the security implications of our increased online lives have gone mainstream. We have to do our own blocking-and-tackling tasks, such as performing frequent security updates, changing default Wi-Fi passwords, and segmenting home networks. Also on the to-do list: enabling two-factor authentication (all managed cloud apps have this option, says Nico Fischbach, global CTO at Forcepoint, adding a VPN on phones, and watching out for account takeovers, White says.

For this feature, we take a look at what people are doing online and the related security implications, and offer tips for how to stay safe. We welcome readers to offer up any other tips that will keep the community safe online.

 
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