As long as vulnerabilities in technology exist, you can count on scammers to take full advantage of them and as one might expect, the coronavirus outbreak has been no exception. The arrival of COVID-19 has sent cybercriminals into overdrive, taking advantage of the unprecedented levels of stress, fear, and uncertainty that we have all experienced.
A big target for these COVID-19 cybersecurity scams? Remote workers.
Working from home has introduced many Americans to a new sense of detachment and vulnerability due to the mixing of work and social environments. These environments provide a perfect space in which cybercriminals can plot attacks on workers’ most important information.
If you ask us, the numbers speak for themselves. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most popular COVID-19 cybersecurity scams that we’ve seen.
Brand Exploitation Phishing
In this scam, phishers pose as trusted brands to scam users into giving them an open gateway through which they can penetrate sensitive information and install malware on their devices. In this particular example, we see scammers posing as trusted agencies such as the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
Unfortunately, even those on the front lines of the pandemic aren’t safe from the cybersecurity threats that COVID-19 has inspired. Scammers posing as trusted organizations like the CDC and the WHO have taken advantage of the chaos that the coronavirus has caused by phishing for healthcare credentials through the use of fake surveys and seminars. Some have even attempted to go after the agencies themselves.
In addition to malware, scammers have also used convincing audio to scam vulnerable people into providing personal health or financial information. How do they do it? By “offering testing kits, scaring you into getting your air conditioning ducts cleaned, posing as charity organizations raising money, and even pretending to be from the World Health Organization!” say our partners at KnowBe4.
Stimulus Check Scams
Scammers also have attempted to target the primary source of relief for many Americans during the pandemic: the economic stimulus checks provided by the government. In another effort to take advantage of the urgency surrounding COVID-19, scammers have sent unsolicited fraudulent emails that require the receiver to enter personal information for the false promise of receiving their check.
Another way that scammers have attempted to attack innocent people is by sending phishing emails that exploit the fear that their sensitive information may have been compromised. Some emails suggest that the receiver may be infected with the virus and that they should click on a malicious link to receive further information. Others use compromising information to falsely hold users hostage until they comply with the scammer’s demands, which usually come in the form of payment.
These are some of the most common COVID-19 cybersecurity scams that we have seen circulating and this trend is not a new one. As long as there is a crisis, you can expect cybercriminals to take full advantage of it to exploit the people that are most affected by it.
Thankfully, as long as threats exist, there is an effective way to ward them off. Cybersecurity awareness training helps your employees identify these types of threatening web content, giving them the tools they need to become your organization’s human firewall.
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