According to Carin Smith from Fin24, cyber-criminals have not waited long to try and exploit the coronavirus for their own gain – instead, they’re using the widespread panic to spread a different kind of virus.
The scammers exploit people’s concerns for their health and safety in an attempt to pressure them into being tricked, according to Tatyana Scherbakova, a security researcher at a global cybersecurity company Kaspersky.
The company has already detected emails offering products such as masks or fake offerings of vaccines, which in fact lead to phishing websites.
A phishing website is a website masked to be owned by an established enterprise. Its purpose is to “fish” for information such as passwords, email addresses or other personal details.
If you fall for this trick you’re at risk of being hacked. Always make sure to not give out any personal information over email or through any online form that offers you amazing deals in exchange for your details.
Reportedly there have already been 2 673 cybercrime attempts detected involving fake coronavirus solutions, and the distribution of 513 unique scam files. The latest ones detected claim to be from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The virus has everyone in panic and hackers are having a field day as everyone is seeking a solution to stay virus-free.
“Cybercriminals recognise the important role WHO has in providing trustworthy information about the coronavirus. Users receive emails allegedly from the WHO, which supposedly offer information about safety measures to be taken to avoid infection,” says Scherbakova.
“Once a user clicks on the link embedded in the email, they are redirected to a phishing website and prompted to share personal information, which ends up in the hands of cybercriminals. This scam looks more realistic than other examples we have seen lately.”
The Kaspersky researchers have detected malicious pdf, mp4 and docx files masquerading as items relating to the coronavirus. The names of the files imply that they contain video instructions on how to protect yourself from the virus, updates on the threat and even virus detection procedures.
“We would encourage companies to be particularly vigilant at this time and ensure employees who are working at home exercise caution,” says David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky.
- If you are an individual, Kaspersky advises that you carefully study the content of emails you receive and only trust reliable sources. Do not download files with an .exe extension.
- If you are a business, provide a VPN (a private network that uses a public network) for staff to connect securely to the corporate network.
- All corporate devices – including mobiles and laptops – should be protected with appropriate security software.
- Don’t panic, it clouds your judgment.