Watch Out – Coronovirus Cyber Crime is on the Rise!

Cyber security experts are warning individuals and businesses that coronavirus-related cyber crimes are on the rise. Be vigilant in practicing smart security.  

It’s an old tale. Catastrophe strikes society and those looking to take advantage of it come out of the woodwork. Coronavirus is no exception. Cybersecurity experts at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have already noticed an uptick in cybercrime related to the coronavirus. Hackers are using the fear over the pandemic to scare individuals and businesses into clicking on email scams and falling victim to other cyberattacks.

Coronavirus Phishing

Coronavirus Cyberattacks – What Business People Need to Know

Cybercriminals want to steal as much money as possible – which is why they tend to target businesses. While they are happy to scam unsuspecting individuals out of their money, their big goal is to take advantage of businesses with deep pockets so they can enrich themselves. That’s why businesses need to be extra vigilant in protecting their systems and networks from criminal activity.

In the current coronavirus pandemic, more and more employees are working remotely. They are also under increased pressure from all sides and many are feeling quite unsettled by the spread of the coronavirus. This natural fear is what cybercriminals are preying upon. They are attempting financial fraud, phishing attacks, credential theft and more – all using the coronavirus as the tool to overcome standard security practices.

Coronavirus-Themed Phishing Emails

These emails claim to contain information that you need about coronavirus. They may say that they have a document that you really need to read – one that contains information about how to protect you and your family, for instance. To access the document, you need to open an attachment that came with the email. Once you open the attachment, you let malware into your computer that can be used to exploit you in some way. It may steal important financial information, take your passwords, hold your computer hostage until you pay a ransom, or perform some other form of exploitation.

What should you do if you get a suspicious email?

The NCSC has a guide for individuals and businesses that can help you determine how to identify suspicious emails and what to do when you receive one. Some of the tips include:

Identifying Phishing Emails

  • Poorly written. Many phishing emails are from hackers in other countries where the first language is not English. The lack of familiarity with the language leads to emails that are poorly written, use incorrect grammar, bad spelling and strange punctuation choices.
  • Poor quality. If it comes from a professional organization that you are familiar with, you may notice that the quality of the email doesn’t meet the standards you are used to seeing.
  • Generic addresses. These emails will often address you as “Valued Customer”, “Friend”, or in some other generic manner.

What to Do

  • Don’t follow links. Links could take you to fake websites that appear legitimate. If you enter important information into the site it will be stolen and possibly used later to your detriment.
  • Don’t open attachments. Malware usually rides with attachments in these emails. As long as you don’t open the attachments, the malware will not infect your computer.
  • Don’t reply. Even replying to these emails can get you in trouble. It is better to do nothing with them if you suspect they are scams.
  • Don’t follow the instructions. Whatever the email is telling you to do, it is almost certainly something that will negatively impact you.
  • Report the email. The site has a section for reporting cybercrimes. If you have identified an email that seems to be a scam it is best if you report it to the authorities. If you make a mistake and report an email that is not, in fact, a scam, it will not hurt anything. There is a good chance that the email is a scam and reporting it will help law enforcement identify sources of cybercrime.

If you operate a business, it is a good idea to educate your team on the topic of coronavirus-themed scams. Together, you can protect your business and your personal information.