Networks Exposed to Cyberthreats from Coronavirus Scammers

24/03/2020

Every crisis has its heroes but also its criminals - groups of crooks who try to make money on it. The coronavirus pandemic we are experiencing now shows that scammers don't stop even under such serious circumstances. In the real worlds, they sell face masks or sanitizers for astronomical prices. Online scammers use the pandemic to massively spread their own "infection". I have even received an offer from fraudsters offering financial products to "use this artificial coronavirus crisis to my own financial advantage". Technically, this is nothing new, no rocket science. Scammers just found a new topic that attracts attention. Who cares about the fact that abusing the situation is the highest level of vulturism. For them, the most important thing is that it works better than "My uncle from Africa inherit $10 million, your help I need!"

Most of us have been immune to such nonsense, and if not us, our anti-spam filters surely have. As much as we resist, however, fear, stress or, most recently, good intentions sometimes make us click on a link or attachment which we should definitely not click on. But who would not want to help hospital heroes with a hand-made face mask (instructions in the link) or learn more about the latest advances in treatment (video in the link)? Just a moment of inattention can take us, in the best-case scenario, to a page with adult content, at worst we can end up with malware spreading on our computer.

Sometimes, the creativity of scammers is astonishing. A recent example: as many people work remotely, the need of conference calls and other means of online communication increases. Many people are not very familiar with using these tools (not everyone works in a multinational company with teams across Europe), and there is nothing easier for fraudsters than to send a link to a fake video conferencing tool or call. A confused employee, in his own living room and with a crying baby next door makes one click and the problem is imminent. Not to mention that a home Wi-Fi network (let's be honest) is not always 100% secure and is, in comparison to a company network, potentially a much easier target for hackers.

It is understandable that these days most people look after their own health and health of their close ones. It is important, however, to be cautious in the virtual world as well and to not give any opportunity to those who try to harm or make money on this unprecedented situation. Just as doctors and health professionals emphasize the importance of good personal hygiene, we should not forget about our virtual hygiene when surfing the internet.

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