How Hackers are Exploiting COVID-19 and What Organizations Can Do About It

by Tim Freestone, Vice President of Corporate Marketing on April 6, 2020

Now that many people are working from home due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), businesses are facing unprecedented cybersecurity challenges. Unfortunately, among many challenges, hackers are poised to capitalize on the crisis by attacking with viruses of their own. Thousands of COVID-19-related websites are being launched by cyber criminals. Tragically, COVID-19-themed domain registrations are 50% more likely to be from malicious actors.

Most of these sites include phishing scams that exploit both consumers and workers who simply want to stay up to date on what’s going on. Directing traffic to these fraudulent sites are malicious email campaigns that use phishing and even social engineering tactics to incent action on the part of the user.

Ransomware is on the rise as well. Recently, a tracking app called “COVID19 Tracker” masked itself as a...

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Families First Coronavirus Response Act Notice – Frequently Asked Questions

Families First Coronavirus Response Act Notice – Frequently Asked Questions per the Department of Labor:

  1. Where do I post this notice? Since most of my workforce is teleworking, where do I electronically “post” this notice? Each covered employer must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.
  2. Do I have to post this notice in other languages that my employees speak? Where can I get the notice in other languages? You are not required to post this notice in multiple languages, but the Department of Labor (Department) is working to translate it into other languages.
  3. Do I have to share this notice with recently laid-off individuals? No, the FFCRA requirements explained on this notice apply only to...
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DHS Allows Remote Review of Form I-9s During COVID-19 Emergency

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that it is temporarily relaxing Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification document review requirements during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Employers whose employees are working remotely to limit physical proximity during the national emergency will be permitted to review their employees' identity and employment authorization documents remotely.

Employers are required to complete the Form I-9 to verify and document an employee's identity and employment authorization. As part of the normal verification process, the employer must view and record in Form I-9, Section 2, the original verification documents presented by the employee in the employer's physical presence and compare any identification information on the documents to the employee.

Key details of the temporary provisions include:

  • The exemption applies only to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. If any employees are physically...
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Managing Remote Employees: A Plan To Maintaining Momentum

The most difficult pieces of having a remotely working staff is ensuring that each team member is working efficiently, engaging regularly, and maintaining company culture.

Due to COVID-19, many companies are transitioning to remote work without having the ability to come up with a telecommuting policy or having the knowledge of what it takes to maintain a company's productivity, which is crucial during what may be an economic downturn.

With no definitive date this will end, I've put together this plan that businesses can utilize to continue meeting business objectives during this time.

REMOTE WORK PLAN: 

Break up into teams - Divide employees up to be no more than 6 employees reporting to one manager or supervisor. Managing more than 6 people remotely is bound to have it's pitfalls. There just isn't enough time in the day to give quality support to more than that. If it is not possible to break up into smaller teams, then break up the team by projects they're working...

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Remote Work: A Small Business Guide to Free Resources

Around 30 million American small businesses are being forced to shut-down or transition to remote operations indefinitely amid COVID-19, and that number is growing by the hour.

In an effort to help small business owners identify resources for this shift that won't break their already injured bank accounts, I've rounded up a few companies offering free services and trials during this period.

Microsoft - said it will limit restrictions on its free version of its collaborative communications tool, Teams. It’s also offering a six-month free trial for some of its basic package of Office 365 enterprise products to businesses that reach out to a Microsoft partner or sales representative. “By making Teams available to as many people as possible, Microsoft’s hope is that they can support public health and safety by making remote work even easier,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.

Comcast has taken a number of steps to improve access to...

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Executive Order to Suspend and Modify CAL Warn Act for COVID-19

 

What is WARN?

The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act applies to employers of 100 or more full-time employees (or 100 full-time and part-time employees who work a total of 4,000 non-overtime hours per week). A covered employer must give 60-days notice to affected employees and specified government officials before it: (i) shuts down an employment site that causes employment loss for 50 or more full-time employees; (ii) conducts a layoff that effects 50 or more employees and 33% or more of the total workforce at a single...

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Employee Lay-offs: What Employers Should Know during COVID-19

COVID-19 may obliterate a lot of businesses from the face of the earth over the next few months, or it may not. Nearly every business in the United States has been affected by this pandemic and there are going to be tough decisions made over the next few weeks as government entities are forcing non-essential businesses across America to temporarily close down.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LAYING OFF EMPLOYEES

  • You have to have a systemic strategy of who is getting laid off and ensure it is non-discriminatory. The easiest system to implement is last in, first out (by tenure). The more difficult strategy is to decide based off of performance because this would require the company to have to prove that one employee outperforms the other and would need documentation to support it. Businesses can also choose to let go certain departments if those departments would no longer be essential to the business in current circumstances. This is also known as eliminating positions.
  • You have to...
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The Best Work from Home Tips for Beginners

Welcome newbies! You’re probably so excited that you get to work from home now, but trust me, it could get old fast. Sure, you’ll be in the comfort of your own home, but after a while, the need for sunlight and human interaction is needed! You’ll start to feel like you need to get out more. Since I’ve been working from home (it’s now going on a year and a half) I go out a lot more on the weekends. Something about being in the house all day, every day, can drive a person crazy!  But I don’t want that for you, so I have come up with some useful tips to help you get your job done all whilst not losing your mind in the process.

Bathe. Yes, bathe. Some of you will ixnay that morning shower since you don’t have to leave the house now, but showering first thing in the morning makes all the difference in the world. Showers also help you to wake up. Now, if you just can’t help yourself and you need to get those extra minutes of sleep in...

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Ideas to Transition your Business during COVID-19

As businesses are being required to shut their doors to the public and people are working from home at an unprecedented rate - it’s become very clear that many businesses across various industries will be fighting to stay afloat during this period of uncertainty. More specifically, small businesses.

As I’ve had conversations with every one of our clients over the last week, it’s become clear that almost all of them will have to find new ways to deliver their product and/or service to their customers. 

I’ve put together a list of ideas that several industries can implement into their business quickly in order to help mitigate revenue losses.

RESTAURANTS AND RETAIL 

  • Offer a subscription service
  • Offer free delivery 
  • Make items available to order online 
  • Create a separate line of business such as online cooking classes, personal shopping, and affiliated partnerships 
  • Re-negotiate leases with landlords

REAL ESTATE 

  • Go virtual...
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New I-9 Form for 2020

On Jan. 31, 2020, USCIS published the Form I-9 Federal Register notice announcing a new version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, that the Office of Management and Budget approved on Oct. 21, 2019. This new version contains minor changes to the form and its instructions. Employers should begin using this updated form as of Jan. 31, 2020.

The notice provides employers additional time to make necessary updates and adjust their business processes. Employers may continue using the prior version of the form (Rev. 07/17/2017 N) until April 30, 2020. After that date, they can only use the new form with the 10/21/2019 version date. The version date is located in the lower left corner of the form.

USCIS made the following changes to the form and its instructions:

Form:

Revised the Country of Issuance field in Section 1 and the Issuing Authority field (when selecting a foreign passport) in Section 2 to add Eswatini and Macedonia, North per...

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