COVID-19 Cyber Scams

A New Wave of Cyber Attacks is Happening Worldwide

Cybercriminals know that many people are adjusting to a new normal, making it easy to trick them with savvy COVID-19 phishing emails and text messages. Cyber attackers are leveraging the fear and uncertainty created by this event to trick unwary users. This is why it’s so important to maintain cyber security awareness training campaigns and phishing simulations.

Worldwide COVID-19 has closed offices, schools, and companies. People are living in lock down, quarantine, self-isolation, and implementing social distancing. Employees are working from home under the new COVID-19 protection measures.

The new realities of COVID-19 have changed every aspect of our lives. However, one thing has not changed – cybercriminals continue to actively target victims with phishing attacks.

COVID-19 phishing emails, BEC scams, smishing, and vishing attacks are happening worldwide.

Phishing Scams: By the Numbers

1. According to the FBI, the new phishing scenarios cyber attackers are using are related to:

  • Charitable contributions
  • General financial relief
  • Airline carrier refunds
  • Fake cures and vaccines
  • Fake testing kits

2. Since January 2020, based on Check Point Threat Intelligence, there have been over 4,000 coronavirus-related domains registered globally. Out of these websites, 3% were found to be malicious and an additional 5% are suspicious.

3. Coronavirus-themed domains 50% more likely to be malicious than other domains.

4. Coronavirus-related frauds increased by 400% in March.

5. Netskope estimates that as of March 20th, more than 42% of workers worked from home.

Ways to Prevent COVID-19 Related Cyber Scams

No health agency or government department will email you asking for your health details or to sell you a COVID-19 test or vaccine.
The Red Cross, World Health Organization and your government health department will never ask for your confidential information in an email or text message.
Do not trust social media posts or ads promising COVID-19 cures, tests, vaccines or selling masks and gloves.
If you receive a message or call from someone pretending to be a health official, colleague, or government employee about COVID-19 hang up immediately
Beware of messages pretending to be from suppliers or other businesses you deal with asking you to open an attachment or change a payment process.
Be extra cautions with requests that appear to come form your HR department asking you to fill out a form with your personal information.

Vigilance is Your Best Defense!

  • If the email or text message sounds too good to be true – it is.
  • Do not click on links or open an attachement included in unsolicited emails or text messages.
  • Never ever give out personal or financial information.


Resources

Protect Yourself from COVID-19 Cyber Scams Kit