Why everyone should be mindful of cybersecurity amid COVID-19

covid-19 economy

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As the COVID-19 pandemic claims increasing numbers of lives, it’s equally important to take note of the growing cybersecurity threats that appear to take advantage of the dire situation. Cyber criminals are brewing creative ways to attack unsuspecting victims. From phishing to malware, security experts have observed malicious campaigns that capitalise on the familiarity of the disease caused by the SARS-COV-II virus.

Organisations that have their competent IT teams, as well as those that rely on the cybersecurity solutions provided by security firms like MMR IT, may not have a lot to worry about this emerging problem. However, those who know little about the threats must be updated with the risks they may encounter.

Phishing emails

The COVID-19 problem is wreaking havoc on society, creating opportunities for scammers to appeal to the sympathy of those who are relatively unaffected by the punishing lockdowns and community quarantines enforced by various governments. Oportunists send emails disguised as solicitation requests from legitimate organisations. Generous citizens easily fall for these emails that have been carefully crafted to appeal to a person’s sense of pity and emotionally engage them.

If the fraudulent requests for donations fail to achieve their purpose, the phishing scheme usually includes links or buttons in the email, which direct the recipients to a page or user interface, asking them to log in to their email or social media accounts. If they fail to realise that the login page is a simulation, they could easily reveal their login credentials to scammers and attackers. They would have willingly compromised the security of potentially their bank accounts.

COVID map malware

Another emerging coronavirus-related security focuses on the growing appetite of netizens for information about the spread of COVID-19. It’s malware that is presented to victims as a downloadable application through which one can open a comprehensive presentation of facts about how the disease has been spreading worldwide. The malware may also be sent as an email attachment. Would-be victims are tricked into installing it so that they can open an interactive window similar to the COVID-19 presentation of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

After the installation and execution of the malware, the infected computers start sending information or files to the attacker. The perpetrator can then use the stolen files or data for extortion, fraud or other criminal activity. In some variants, the malware operates as ransom ware. What it does is to encrypt files in the affected computer to make them inaccessible. To make the encrypted files accessible again, the attacker demands the victim to pay a ransom usually in Bitcoin or other crypto currencies.

The coronavirus problem is apparently not enough to make cyber criminals consider a brief respite from their felonious activities. Authorities are asking everyone to take the necessary precautions against these threats including the installation and updating of a reputable malware defense system.

Security professionals are asking netizens to be careful when clicking on links and installing apps. COVID-19 is not only creating a health crisis; it is also instigating ingenious cyber threats and attacks.


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