The whole world is in high alert with coronavirus COVID-19, as being declared a pandemic and every government is making a tremendous effort to get the virus under control and protect its citizens. The virus already has everyone in a panic with the loss of life, tumbling economy and the global shutdown but one group is seemingly using this chaos and panic to its advantage.
As the virus makes headlines daily, people heed to every information they can get to beat COVID-19, and hackers are using this to their gain. Several cybersecurity firms have reported cases and attacks in various forms by hackers using COVID-19 to lure their victims into spreading malware and falling into other traps. People are staying indoors and working from home and increasingly using the internet which presents as a sweet cake for hackers.
Here is how hackers are exploiting the global panic from the virus
Phishing Mails and Malwares
FireEye a cybersecurity company, has learned about cybersecurity threats coming from China, North Korea, and Russia. Chinese hacking group attacks East Asia, the North Korean groups are targeting South Korean Non-governmental Organizations and Russian groups are attacking parts of Ukraine. These use phishing emails and spams to spread malware but they are not just limited to malware, some mails are business mails to fish out money from the receiver.
Stealing Personal Information
A Chinese group named Vicious Panda by the security firms has tricked people into sharing sensitive personal information using a document from Mongolian Health Ministry.
Other hackers are using maps and dashboards for stealing personal information reports Reason Labs. The most common one is the abuse of the dashboard created by John Hopkins University. People rely on these to track the spread of the virus and know the infected number.
Fake Apps, Websites Imposters, and Misinformation
Among other methods are – Fake Apps to track the spread of coronavirus and the infected patient, where they went, where not to go, virus hotspots. These apps are filled with malware and could be asking you to pay money. Then there are the Fake websites, where the actors imposter global organizations like the World Health Organization. Some social media campaigns and accounts are also responsible for sharing misinformation about the virus that it’s a conspiracy of rival countries.
The crux is, as long as COVID-19 remains a threat, hackers will continue to take its advantage, so we need to be diligent and smart while surfing the net to avoid being scammed. A few steps like only trusting variable sources for information on the virus life
- Use a trustable source of information on the virus.
- Not installing apps from unverified sources.
- Don’t pay anything to any website or application, only trust government sources.
- Don’t open spam emails or any attachment if it’s not known.