Cyber security expert: Hackers are trying to take advantage of you through of COVID-19 emails

PITTSBURGH — – Have you noticed your inbox being filled with emails about COVID-19? It’s mostly businesses updating you on their response, but there could also be some cyber criminals lurking to steal your information.

Right now, phishing is up 600% and experts say online threats are six times higher than normal. This all comes at a time when internet use is up by 17%.

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“What that really equates to is there's more opportunity for a breach, for a cyberattack to happen both to businesses and personal,” Greg Pack, vice president of sales for PGH Networks, said.

Pack works for a local IT company and he said the best way to outsmart the cyber criminals is to be proactive.

“If you remember nothing from this conversation, remember two-factor authentication. It’s so important because that username and password only goes so far.

Two-factor authentication is what will give you an extra layer of security. He says you can find it in the security section of most social media and email accounts you have.

As far as passwords go, Pack recommends against letting websites remember your password but a password manager on your mobile device is OK. He also said it’s important to vary your passwords, because if you don’t and they can hack one account that leads them to other accounts.

“Once I'm in there, I can look through your inbox and see, ‘Oh, she has a banking statement from this bank, and a credit card statement from here.’ And it says pay bill, and you can click and go right to that site and once you're on that site, ‘Hey the password is probably the same password,’” he said.

Pack said cyber criminals usually get passwords from major data breaches, but because of all the phishing attempts this might be a good time to change your password so that it’s unique for each thing you’re registered for.