Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there is a lot of panic, fear, and stress among the people. The nations are in the state of lockdown and everyone is taking various preventive measures against this Coronavirus pandemic whether it be social distancing or washing hands, or many others. And somehow it is good as Prevention is always better than Cure! But wait…have you prepared yourself for the attack of online viruses too? Yes, as everyone across the world has now forced to come online during this pandemic, the cybercriminals are all set to target and attack the people and make them fall for malicious scams or frauds.
Now the question arises that why the hackers are more active in this pandemic situation and how they are using it to scam people? This can be understood as in this lockdown situation when the majority of the people is connected virtually or when the companies are trying to compensate for their loss of work through Work From Home, or when people are opting for online transactions even for minor tasks such as paying the electricity bill, etc., it has created an environment for the hackers and they are trying to capitalize this situation anyhow. Some of the major scam scenarios regarding the same are mentioned below:
1. Fraud Registered Domains
Since the COVID-19 disease emerged into a pandemic, the thousands of fraud domains are registered and various fake websites have been created. The majority of these fraud domains are associated with fake e-commerce shops that claim to offer safety masks, hand sanitizers, and other protective gear but in reality, they are providing damaged or unsafe products. Also, when you enter your login credentials or any other personal information on such fraud sites, they could be further misused by hackers.
Also, there are various fake information and news sites created that not only give you inaccurate or inauthentic information but also infect your system or device with malware and steal your online credentials.
2. Phishing Emails & Texts
Phishing emails and text messages have always been the most preferable digital spam by hackers. In this Coronavirus pandemic, hackers are sending an email attached with a spam document or link that imitates as any kind of donation or financial support or any other authorized content regarding the outbreak. And when you open the provided document or link, your system gets infected with malicious vulnerabilities and your online credentials get stolen. It is strongly recommended to all the internet users to inspect the email sender’s address before opening any attachment and do not provide your personal information and credentials or transfer of money without verification.
3. Fake Mobile Apps
This is the latest cybercrime that comes in this scenario. Cybercriminals know that this outbreak is the right time to attack and that’s why the internet is flooded with thousands of malicious or fraud apps. There are various fake mobile applications over the internet that claims to detect coronavirus positive cases or similar features. However, these apps act as the ransomware that infects your mobile and makes all your device data accessible to hackers. You must try to avoid the installation of any unauthorized apps on your mobile device. Also, do not enter any personal credentials such as passwords, account details, etc. on such illegitimate apps, and change your username & passwords regularly to make it more secure.
4. Data Breaching
Due to the outbreak, people are forced to do their work remotely and all their professional or personal communication, data transfer, or any other operation is occurring digitally over the internet. There are lots of platform over the web that acts as a worthy tool for the remote working process such as Task Management Software, Video Calling platforms, etc. but some of these are not reliable or secure and can result in the leak of data or other important information. Also, the network used by you for the company’s work must be secure or trusted as it can also be the entry-point for the hackers to steal your data.
5. Social Media Scams
Although Social Media seems to be very crucial in such a crisis as with the help of it we can still get connected with others but if not used in the right way it can act as a double-edged? sword too. Yes, there are a lot of spammers or hackers active on social media who are using it for bad reasons. They are offering various fraud healthcare schemes regarding COVID-19, requesting for some amount, etc through creating fake accounts on these platforms. It can put your money, online credentials, data, etc. at risk hence, you need to be very cautious while using social media (especially in such pandemic situations.)
As mentioned above that the cybercriminals often use such stressful situations for malicious activities since, in such outbreaks or distressful situations, it is more often for people to fall for the cyberscams. However, you can prevent yourself (or your device) from these cyber attacks by following several measures:
- Do not open any unidentified email attachment or link and must not provide your login credentials or other personal details to anyone without verification.
- Use the reliable network and backup your data regularly. Also, use authentic and reliable software or apps during work from home.
- Do not order any online products especially the coronavirus related items from any unusual or illegitimate site.
- Navigate to the official websites for any medical information (WHO, CDC, etc)
So you must not give a single chance to these hackers to attack you anyhow. Just keep yourself safe from the offline virus (COVID-19) and online viruses (cyber attacks) as well!!
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