COVID 19 Cybersecurity

Cyber Attacks to Watch Out For During Coronavirus

Cyberattacks On the Rise During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Times of trial have a way of bringing out the best in people. They also have a tendency of bringing out the worst. While we’ve seen many heroic acts of kindness and generosity during the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve also seen a large surge in cyber attacks. In a time as precarious as our current situation, you would hope individuals would show mercy. However, this is not the case for cyber criminals. Instead of slowing down their schemes, they have even ramped up their efforts. You could even say that cyber attacks are increasing almost as rapidly as the coronavirus itself. Suddenly, people’s immunity isn’t the only thing at stake. The immunity of organizations’ networks and systems is also at risk of being attacked. As the pandemic progresses, we suggest watching out for these common coronavirus-related cyber attacks.

Phishing emails

On average, phishing attacks are one of the most common tactics employed by cyber criminals. They are also a method of choice for stealing your data during the COVID-19 pandemic. Phishing emails are designed to pose as a legitimate correspondence to steal your sensitive information. During the coronavirus, email inboxes have been flooded with “relief effort” emails and messages containing “updates” about cures and testing details. The intent of these emails is not to provide you with actual information. Their purpose is to lure you into providing data such as your social security number, credit card number, and passwords. If you’re feeling insecure in your ability to tell a genuine email from a fake, now is a good time to refresh your memory on some telltale signs of phishing emails.

Tips for spotting a phishing email:

  1. Before clicking on a link, hover over it to make sure that it is valid. Very often, a hacker will send an email that looks like it came from a legitimate source such as the CDC, but when you click on the URL it takes you to a completely unrelated webpage. Hovering over the URL will show you the destination before you get there. 
  2. Keep an eye out for typos. Excessive typos and errors are often a sign that an email is not legitimate. It’s a simple point to look out for, but a very quick way to spot a fake.
  3. Look for an unusual ask. Most companies will never ask you for sensitive data like information like your social security number over email. To be on the safe side, you should always just assume any such email is spam and should be deleted. 
  4. Double check the sender. Similar to the URL, if an email is malicious it will come from a name that is often unrecognizable or completely unrelated to the company sending the email. It may also contain an excessive amount of characters or numbers in the address.

Malicious websites

Everyone is in search of information and updates surrounding the coronavirus. Hackers have taken advantage of this search influx and have stood up malicious websites. These sites which are in the thousands (and still counting) look like legitimate resources, however their intent is to incite disaster and not provide information. In general, internet users should use caution when viewing any COVID-19 specific website. According to a recent article posted by ZDNet, “more than 3,600 new domains that contain the “coronavirus” term launched between March 14 and March 18.” That is a lot of misleading content to potentially fall victim to. Inspecting the URL is a good first step when determining if a site is safe or not. Sites that use uncommon extensions (anything other than .com, .org) are more likely to lack legitimacy. We recommend sticking with well-known sources that have a long-standing reputation like the cdc.gov or the hhs.gov.

Counterfeit links

We’ve already covered websites and email, but malicious links can and are popping up everywhere. From social media sites to texts, hackers spare no effort in trying to get your data. Again, we highly suggested erring on the side of caution and just deleting any unexpected email, texts or messages regarding the coronavirus. If you can, hover or the link to view the destination URL or copy and paste it into your browser before navigating to the site. Also, just stick to following and opening content from reputable sources with a well-known name and background of accuracy. 

Hacked video conferencing

Did you invite four contacts to your meeting and have five show up? Meeting bombing, officially dubbed by the internet as Zoombombing, is not uncommon right now. And with the sudden rise in video conferencing, hackers have taken advantage of companies that unprepared for the sudden transition to working from home. To help protect your account and meetings from uninvited attendees, take some time to adjust some of your advanced security settings within Zoom.

A lot of concerns are weighing on people’s minds right now and cybersecurity shouldn’t be one of them. If you need help monitoring your network or navigating the transition to working from home, our team is ready to help. Contact us today or take a look through our blog for more articles related to securing your network.

Related reading: COVID-19: A Catalyst for Cybersecurity While Working From Home

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