Hackers are Leveraging Fear during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Hackers are taking advantage of the health scare to spread their own infections, including creating malicious Coronavirus-related domains and selling malware to other hackers on the dark web. Hackers will use society’s desire of having information on the latest developments. The danger of falling prey to phishing schemes is at an all-time high as people will tend to react more quickly to receive frequent coronavirus updates for their local area especially while working remotely from home.

Protect Your Business While Employees Work Remotely

Now that many of us are working remotely, we may begin to see an increase in phishing emails that may contain subjects such as “COVID-19 Update,” “Open Immediately,” “Coronavirus” or some variant of these. There are also text messages offering compensation in the form of gift cards due to store closures. Any number of these messages may come from phony senders claiming to be service providers, courts, vendors or even clients.  It is also important to remember that hackers will continue their regular phishing activity in addition to health-related phishing attempts. Hackers are counting on their targets having their guard down and having less interaction with their IT teams while working remotely leaving them more susceptible.

Protect Your Personal Information

By leveraging fear and the good intentions of the public, hackers are using coronavirus messages to steal passwords, personal data and financial information. Individuals should obtain their information from reliable resources, like the Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization. In order to avoid falling victim to these schemes, remember some of these useful tips below:

  • Ignore emails, texts and phone calls from strangers.
    • This may include messages related to donating to help the fight against COVID-19, investing in stock options, or online offers for coronavirus-related vaccines and cures.
  • Do not open attachments, download files or click on links from unexpected emails.
      • These emails may appear to come from individuals or businesses you know, but are actually from a slightly different email account.
  • Do not forward unknown emails, as these might contain viruses or malware.
  • Be wary of anyone asking for money toward research for a cure or victims of the virus.
    • These should raise immediate red flags if they request prepaid gift cards or bitcoin.
  • Be careful of fake websites offering coronavirus protective supplies or testing kits, as they may be counterfeit.

To learn more about the protocols Shutts & Bowen is implementing to protect its employees and clients from COVID-19 exposure, click here.