Cybercriminals exploiting natural disasters or tragic events is nothing new. We’ve witnessed attackers take full advantage of 9/11 and hurricane Katrina. However, with the worldwide chaos that continues to spread from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, I believe we’re witnessing all-time moral lows in the exploitation of individual fears and panic. Over the last few months my firm, Thirtyseven4, has seen a significant spike in COVID-19 scams, in the form of coronavirus-themed phishing scams, hoaxes, fake online donation sites, malware and apps. I’d imagine with stimulus checks getting dispersed, I’d bet that cybercriminals will be looking at creative ways of digitally stealing those funds from you.
According to our Viruslab data, Thirtyseven4 has intercepted thousands of dangerous COVID-19 scams, malware, and dubious apps in just the past two weeks. One such app (on Android) claims real-time city and state data from the Centers for Disease Control about patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and will instantly notify the user if such a patient is in your community. Instead of the downloading and installing the desired infection tracker, the user unknowingly infects the device with ransomware. Another bogus app falsely claims to offer immediate COVID-19 online testing, and a plentiful of phishing scams have been spotted redirecting users to fake confidential cure solution or COVID-19 map tracking websites in an effort to trick users into entering confidential information about themselves.
Here are some vital safeguards against COVID-19 scams:
- Implement complex passwords.
- Don’t open attachments from unknown sources or click on links embedded in emails or on social media sites.
- Be skeptical of unsolicited phone calls.
- Maintain regular software updates.
- Don’t download apps from unknown sources
- Install strong antivirus/endpoint security protection.
- Use Common Sense
If this is to be our “new normal” for a while, let’s work smarter and more safely by implementing complex passwords, maintaining regular software updates, not opening attachments from unknown sources, and installing strong antivirus software. And whether we admit it or not, we’re in a war against the COVID-19 virus physically, mentally and even digitally as a nation, and we will come through it together and safely if we are prudent and wise about the health of our devices and ourselves. But please be on high alert.
Thirtyseven4 Antivirus solutions are available at: https://www.thirtyseven4.com/store/. For more information contact Thirtyseven4 at 877-374-7581.