Cybercriminals Exploit COVID-19

As the Coronavirus continues to rampage across the world, most companies have been forced to either close temporarily or work remotely. The ability to work remotely has helped businesses continue to work efficiently; however, phishing attacks are on the rise with users accessing data on less secure networks.

Cybercriminals are opportunistic, coordinating their attacks to exploit their targets when they are most vulnerable, such as the end of the day, holiday seasons, or when large groups of computer users are focused on specific topics. With the world gripped in fear over COVID-19, Cybercriminals are taking advantage of this global pandemic by sending out emails claiming to be from legitimate organizations with information regarding the Coronavirus.

What type of phishing emails should you look out for?

CDC Alerts

Emails claiming and appearing to be from the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC). These emails may contain a link prompting you to view the number of cases of COVID-19 in your area.

Health Advice Emails

Health advice emails claiming to be from health experts from China. The emails prompt you to click on a link to download the safety measures you should take.

Workplace Policy Emails

Cybercriminals are targeting corporate workplace email accounts by sending out emails on behalf of the company telling employees they have instituted a Communicable Disease Management Policy.

So the big question is.. How can you recognize and avoid phishing emails?

  • Never give away your personal information online, unless you are using a reliable source. A request via email or an ad is not reliable.
  • Take a look at the sender email address and be sure it is from the correct person. Don’t just look at the name of the person, take a close look at the email address. Often times, hackers will make an email look like it’s coming from someone within the company; however, there may be a slight discrepancy in the sender email address. For example, instead of an email address reading, it may read making it easy to miss the discrepancy unless you are looking closely.
  • Keep an eye out for grammatical errors.
  • Generic greetings. For example: Dear Sir or Dear Madam. You should be wary of emails that are addressed this way.
  • Avoid emails that pressure you to act immediately by clicking on a link.

Where can I find the most reliable information?

Always do your own research by opening a new browser and searching the information yourself.

  • The CDC will typically provide the most recent, up to date information regard the Coronavirus.
  • The World Health Organization provides you with a wide array of information regarding travel advice, ways to protect yourself and answers to common questions.
  • The National Institute of health provides updates and guidance regarding the Coronavirus.
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