Top 5 Cybercrime Trends during the COVID-19 Era

17 Jun

When Coronavirus stole the limelight and drew the attention of literally every human on earth, it seemed the perfect opportunity for cybercriminals lying in wait to strike. And they have been striking hard ever since!

What Cybercriminals Have Been Doing While You’ve Been Fixated on COVID-19

A flurry of cybercriminal activity has been going on over the last few months and many of them seemed spurred on by the arrival of the virus itself. Let’s take a look at the top cybercrime trends that have recently been noticed.

They’ve enjoyed going phishing!

Unlike those who like to spend the day on a camping chair, with their fishing rod and line in the water, cybercriminals prefer to do another type of ‘phishing’. And it turns out that they are rather good at it. Phishing involves emails that contain legitimate-looking information that prompts you first to open the email and then to respond, usually by requesting your personal particulars or urging you to click on an unsafe link/file in order to fix or resolve some sort of problem. Coronavirus themed phishing emails disguised as health alerts or advice from the WHO have been on the rise.

They’ve enjoyed a bit of harvesting!

Have you ever heard of information harvesting? This requires an information-stealing trojan which is put to work gathering the likes of passwords, user names, banking details crypto currency and e-wallets and more. One particular version of this that you might have heard of is AZORult. This is sent out to people, cleverly disguised as a Coronavirus infection map app. It’s unfortunately designed to steal your information instead!

They’ve enjoyed a few ransom situations!

Ransomware is nothing new, but it’s suddenly on the rise. With more people working from home, they aren’t constantly being reminded of the possible data and security threats that arrive on their screens and inboxes. This makes it easier to encourage the victim to click on an unsafe link, download an unsafe file or click on through to a website that’s packed with booby traps. Once the link has been clicked or the file has been downloaded, the data on the device is encrypted and it can only be reversed if a ransom is paid.

Holding people to ransom in times of a world health crisis really shows you the true nature of a cybercriminal, doesn’t it!

They’ve enjoyed snooping on telecom virtual workers!

With many people still working from home currently, a large portion of the population has become familiar with online meeting systems such as Zoom. What they are perhaps still unaware of is that some of these systems, including Zoom, are not completely secure and a few (make that many) people have had their devices hacked by opportunistic criminals. These criminals then spy on the user and gain the info they need to steal their identity or data. Using a VPN (virtual private network) can help to minimise this risk, but it can’t completely eliminate it – especially if the cybercriminal knows what he/she is doing.

They’ve enjoyed reviving fake pharmacies

Cybercriminals have spent a lot of their time trying to promote shad markets. They have targeted real pharmacies with bots and scrips that turn the website into a site riddled with links and comments that are just as dodgy as the sites they send you to. Out of interest, a user may click on one of these links and is then taken to a fake pharmacy or encouraged to buy fake or harmful medical products.

Protect Yourself & Your Business Devices

During COVID-19 era, it’s not just about protecting yourself physically. You also need to protect your business devices and staff members from the onslaught of cybercriminal activity. Take the first step by backing up your sensitive data online and then start implementing methods to ensure that your remote workers are always taking cyber safety precautions.

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