The number of coronaviruses related to cyber scams is continuing to grow. The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau even recently became dragged into one as a phishing email circulated stating ‘Covid-19 Payment.’ In the email message, it stated that “Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved an immediate check of $2,500 for those who choose to stay at home during the Coronavirus crisis. Here is the form for the request. Please fill it out and submit it. The attachment file is called “Covid19 relief.doc.”
While many people did realize that this was not legitimate as this information had not been announced on the news, some people did click the attachment and become infected. Phishing scams are effective when they play on emotions – especially concern and fear, which the coronavirus has created plenty of.
A similar email scam recently appeared in the UK claiming that users could apply for a Government tax rebate.
It has been reported by Check Point Software, a security company, that since the beginning of March, 93 malicious coronavirus websites have been created as well as over 2,000 suspicious ones. As so many people are searching online for coronavirus news, these sites are getting plenty of traffic.
It is essential to rely on trusted sources only such as government websites or well-known health agencies for updates and news.
Another type of scam to be aware of is companies offering COVID-19 discounts, especially in the health sector. There have been a number of reports of malicious websites offering face masks or hand sanitizer on sale, which once a user engages in the site or opens a discount code, malware is installed on their computer.
Smartphones and mobile devices are also being targeted by cyber criminals. Many of these apps claim to track where the virus is spreading in your area, convincing people concerned about how close the virus is to their home to download the app to their phone. Once the app is downloaded, it installs malware which will reveal your personal information to hackers or lock you out of your phone and demand a ransom payment to restore. If the payment isn’t made, typically all of the contacts, photos and other information on the device is wiped out.
Another emerging scam is similar to the virus tracking apps but in the form of a map. Graphics are being circulated of fake maps highlighting coronavirus cases in cities or countries. These are not intended to be helpful – links are embedded in the map and once clicked will infect your device. This type of attack has been stealing banking details, passwords, and other personal information.
As many employees are working from home, employers are even more exposed to cyber threats as personal devices may be used and the increase in social engineering tactics playing on coronavirus anxiety. If your business is in need of increased cyber security and end-user support, MBC can help. Contact us for a free assessment today.