What are the Scares, Scams, Phishing, and Digital Threats to Employees from Hackers Exploiting the Coronavirus Outbreak?
During natural disasters and other major events, criminally-minded people and other baddies are willing to do unethical things to make a profit. With the spread and fear surrounding the explosive growth of the coronavirus, we’re seeing and hearing stories of many criminals and malicious actors on the digital scene. Some are acting like scalpers at a sold-out concert, taking advantage of peoples’ fear of infection and jacking up prices of surgical masks and other Personal Protective gear that is in short supply- but some are taking things a step further.
We find this behavior even more totally gross than the usual cybercrime. Which makes it a learning moment. As these disasters unfold, there are digital and physical risks that now interplay. Here are some things to consider:
Coronavirus Phishing Scams
During any major event, whether it’s the Olympics, a ransomware outbreak like the WannaCry epidemic in 2017, or the current coronavirus outbreak, cybercriminals and fraudsters will take advantage of fear, panic, and uncertainty to take advantage of people.
During the current epidemic, shaping up to be a pandemic, it pays to be suspicious of any email, text message, or website offering information or solutions regarding the outbreak.
Cybercriminals will send phishing emails describing the “best ways to keep yourself safe” or websites will offer crazy deals on medical equipment, vaccines, or safety gear. In our training we often make fun of the drama that criminals invent to socially engineer innocent employees- one of the biggest is to use fear and a sense of urgency. Right now, we’re in an escalating situation that will be rife with fear.
Malicious actors are using the outbreak of the Wuhan novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, as an opportunity to launch emailed-based cyber attacks, according to security specialist Proofpoint.
There are tons of emails, sites, and text messages currently popping up regarding COVID-19, the Coronavirus Outbreak, and SARS that are just another sneaky way to steal data, personal information, and money. Before clicking on a link or entering any personal information into an online form, take a second to ask yourself “is this too good to be true?” and to verify the site or email.
Health scare? A new strain of coronavirus? Updates?
How to Protect Against Coronavirus Scams
While protecting yourself against getting sick is definitely a good idea, you don’t want to get a computer virus while trying to evade the coronavirus.
Some of the Basics
- Make sure your software versions are up to date.
- Make sure you have a great AV on your computer and mobile devices.
- Standard Phishing Protocol: Don’t be lured into clicking on links in emails and be especially wary of attachments. There are tons of fake invoices, shipping receipts, and résumés going around. Add in to being especially weirded out by anything to do with the Coronavirus.
- Looking for info on the Corona Virus? Go directly to official sources of information like the CDC, NHS, and other gov’t agencies.