Hackers Using COVID-19 to Their Advantage with an Influx of Malicious Attacks
Even the FBI Has Noted That Cybercrime Reports Have Skyrocketed, And As More Employees Than Ever Before Embrace Remote Work, How Do We Stay Safe?
The FBI stated that they’d received thousands of complaints regarding fraudulent activity and scams related to the coronavirus pandemic. Matt Gorham, FBI Assistant Director, said in a statement…
“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of precedent for criminals taking advantage of natural disasters and government relief packages to conduct fraud, including through cyber means.”
We’ve seen approximately 6,000 coronavirus or COVID-19 themed domains registered in the past few weeks. These domains are 50% more likely to infect the user with malware than other domains. Although some are registered for legitimate purposes, the vast majority will be used for cyberattacks.
Why is Cybercrime Skyrocketing During This Difficult Time?
In the simplest terms, cybercriminals tend to take advantage of vulnerable situations. Here are a few reasons for the increase in cybercrime during the coronavirus pandemic:
- The rapid and widespread adoption of remote access and cloud-based technologies around the world
- The sudden increase in activity on home networks throughout the day for remote workers
- The uncertainty and fear people feel that results in a heightened interest in updates, relief, and information.
As the number of coronavirus cases continues to surge, cybercrime will continue to evolve with hackers launching a range of attacks:
- Phishing emails
- Malicious domains
- And much more
Flavio Aggio, Chief Information Security Officer for The World Health Organization (WHO), expressed,
“There has been a big increase in targeting of the WHO and other cybersecurity incidents. There are no hard numbers, but such compromise attempts against us and the use of WHO impersonations to target others have more than doubled.”
What Should You Be Concerned About? A Look at the Most Common Cybercrime Tactics Right Now…
Here are some of the most common ways cybercriminals are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to wreak havoc and drain bank accounts:
- Phishing attacks containing alerts about the virus, information about cases in your area, or details to sign up for local financial benefits – often claiming to be from the CDC, WHO, or other governmental agencies.
- Phony domains set up to appear as video conferencing software websites, governmental agency websites, and other news and/or information websites offering downloads that contain malware.
- Alerts via email or text claiming to be purchase orders for masks, sanitizer, and other safety materials and products that have been ordered by the organization the victim works for – requesting a wire transfer for payment.
Unfortunately, many organizations are simply not prepared to handle the influx of cybercrime attacks, especially when they’re embracing remote work – a concept that’s not typically as safe as working in the office.
Our Recommendations to Staying Safe Against Cybercrime – Now and Well Into the Future of Remote Work…
Right now, it’s more important than ever before to ensure you’re staying safe against cybercrime, even if you’re working remotely. Here are our recommendations:
- Use a virtual private network (VPN) with two-factor authentication [TM1] to create a secure, encrypted tunnel for those connecting to the network from home.
- Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible when accessing any sort of data via cloud-based or online services.
- Take precautions for sending sensitive information and encrypt emails before sending or use a secure file sharing solution.
- Verify before clicking links or downloading attachments and if you’re uncertain, don’t click or download anything. Go directly to the source.
Need Assistance Overcoming Challenges with Working Remotely? Get in Touch with Us.