COVID-19 Virus Sparks a Different Outbreak: Malware

Laura BednarHacking, In The News

COVID-19 Outbreak and Malware Epidemic

Since the beginning of the outbreak, the WHO-designated COVID-19 virus (Coronavirus) has taken over two thousand lives, breached the perimeters of at least 26 confirmed countries, and sparked a secondary kind of outbreak: fear.

With people across the globe becoming increasingly worried about the COVID-19 virus, malicious actors across cyberspace are cashing in on those fears, using the unease amongst various populations to manipulate individuals.

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How Malware Is Spreading with Epidemic Speed

According to Gizmodo, from a 2015 study, one out of 10 people were falling victim to phishing emails. These kinds of emails usually contained some kind of link that would provoke the user to provide their username and password information, or even financial information. Then, the hacker is free to use that information as they please.

That was before the COVID-19 anxieties began to grip the global population. Now, hackers are using that to their advantage by sending those same kinds of phishing emails, but with a twist. With the COVID-19 on people’s minds, these emails have been reported to contain wild claims including conspiracy theories and fake remedies for the COVID-19.

These emails then ask the user to click on a link or to download a document file. If someone clicked on a link, they were prompted to provide their personal or employee usernames and passwords before getting redirected to legitimate website, thus fooling the victim and giving the hacker the keys to their personal or business lives. Meanwhile, those that downloaded files ended up having their devices infected with malware such as info-stealing keyloggers.

It’s been shown that hackers are getting better with their corporate phishing attacks. Some emails that were sent have been reported to look so authentic that they used the company’s letterhead, the company president’s proper name, and even adopted the written voice of an executive so well that many people found it to be legitimate.

Protecting Yourself from the Digital Epidemic

There are a variety of ways to protect yourself from these kinds of malware and hacker attacks. First and foremost, always make sure your malware and anti-virus software are kept updated. You’ll want to make sure your anti-viral software provides a wide array of safety features including web-filtering and anti-phishing.

But it’s not just software that’s needed. Much of a hacker’s success comes from human error. Home desktop users and employees must both exercise best practices when it comes to internet safety. When you receive an email that seems like it’s from someone familiar, always check the email address to make sure it exactly matches the one you’re familiar with. Hackers will try to make the email address look alike, but if you look carefully, you may notice some characters or even a single character being off—should you spot that, it’s likely a phishing attempt.

Hackers will send emails that try to create a sense of urgency. These emails will try to compel you to click on a link and provide your login information. That’s all it can take for a hacker to break-in to your account or potentially a company’s whole database. If you’re at work and you see a suspicious email, contact your IT department for them to investigate or make a confirmation call to the coworker that appears to have sent the email.

Fight Back Against Cybercrime with Secure Forensics

Through phishing attacks and malware, hackers can penetrate company defenses and successfully pull off a data breach. This can lead to individuals or companies losing up to millions of dollars. But with the expert team at Secure Forensics, we can not only assess and stop the data breach, we can also investigate to find the responsible party and provide a comprehensive and court-admissible document to get you the justice you deserve. When the hackers are on the attack, your all-in-one solution is Secure Forensics. Call us at 1-800-288-1407 for more information.