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In Beware of Coronavirus Scams and Other Related Malicious Sites, I made you aware of the phishing tactics spreading around the internet lately. I made sure that I would allocate a specific post regarding the protection against these online threats. Wether you admit it or not, there will be people using this global pandemic to their advantage. These cybercriminals don’t just go for healthcare institutions, but they also target your personal banking details.

Generally, cybercriminals don’t just spread threats online, but they have the audacity of going through your very homes. In fact, CNN posted an article about criminals that are posing as government authorities to scam people.

Protection Against Coronavirus Phishing Sites

As mere users, what can you do to avoid phishing scams? More importantly, if you own a business, what can you do to help your employees fall for these schemes?

  • Knowledge IS Power.

First, you have to inform everyone you know about COVID-19 so they won’t carelessly look for information elsewhere. Others may not be as well-versed as you are so keep them away from any threats by sharing the knowledge you know.

  • Only Share Official Websites.

Next, you have to stop speculating. The internet is full of conspiracy theories about the coronavirus. We all have to deal with this as a team and now is NOT the time to insist on your personal opinions. COVID-19 is a health emergency. Having said that, believe what the doctors and medical experts are saying. They are the most reputable sources of information today; don’t go sharing what you read on Facebook without verifying anything.

To help you get started, you can visit these websites:

  • Conduct a Quick Cyber Awareness Training.

Since this global pandemic has change the landscape of our workforce, it’s also timely to make them aware of the threats proliferating online. The virus we are fighting isn’t just found outside, but there’s also a threat spreading online. Phishing emails can endanger businesses as well. Teach all your employees on how to spot suspicious websites and emails, which are used to steal information. Most importantly, use pro-privacy tools even when one is using a shared computer at home.

In order to avoid to fall victim on these malicious email and sites, please read the following articles on cybersecurity.

  • Before Doing Anything, Verify First.

Lastly, don’t believe everything you read online. Verify all the information you have gathered. If you know a doctor or a nurse, you ask them first. Don’t spread unnecessary fear about the coronavirus.

Also, don’t immediately perform tasks which require you to supply sensitive information such as money transfers or signing documents. For instance, an employee got an email that he or she should transfer money immediately because a supervisor or an executive is not available at this time. Inform all your employees to:

  • Examine carefully all the emails they get. Check where the email is from, the email address used, the domain name of the email. Make sure everything matches with the information that they have!
  • As much as possible, verify through a phone call or through internal communication about the task especially if it entails money and classified information.
  • Never reply to those phishing emails and delete them right away!

As the number of Coronavirus Disease 2019 ( or COVID-19) cases rapidly increase throughout the world, there are also a growing number of Coronavirus websites proliferating. At every corner of the internet, you could see websites popping up getting email addresses and personal user information. Sadly, these websites only bring more harm than good. Thus, it is important to filter the information that come your way. Don’t be fooled by other websites and only believe data from verified outlets. For reliable information, you can visit the  Public Health Emergency, Centers for Disease Control, and The New York Times.

Now, more than ever, is not the time to spread malicious websites. The Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center warns the netizens about a malicious website that’s not only fake, but it is also a malware. Worse, most users are unsuspecting of this because they just want to learn and get updates about COVID-19.

Undeniably, cybercriminals are using this global pandemic for their personal gains. Now is the time to be alert of the coronavirus spread, but also of the people taking advantage of new disease. The threat online is also as important the threat we experience in the real world. So, let’s dissect the phishing websites spreading online? What are the tactics they use to scam people?

A Fake COVID-19 Tracker

In any disaster, often times, people rely on the internet to get the new information. That’s why cybercriminals aim to replicate real and actual sites, making them seem harmless. What do they do exactly? They come up with a fake live tracker.

corona-virus-map[dot]com, a phishing website, seems to be the real deal when you look at it. Please don’t even try visiting the said site! I am not linking it here; this is just to make people aware that such fake tracking map exists. COVID-19 is already a serious threat as it is, and now, this fake website is only making thing worse. The phishing website is said to impersonate an actual health organization called John’s Hopkins University. Upon visiting the said site, the website visitors will infect with a trojan, and this AZORult trojan will steal information from the unsuspecting visitors. The information gathered can be used for cybercrimes and even theft.

More Coronavirus Domains

According to the security firm CheckPoint.com,

Since January 2020, based on Check Point Threat Intelligence, there have been over 4,000 coronavirus-related domains registered globally. Out of these websites, 3% were found to be malicious and an additional 5% are suspicious. Coronavirus- related domains are 50% more likely to be malicious than other domains registered at the same period.

COVID-19 Related Cybercrimes

More and more news articles pertaining to the coronavirus are being published each day. In fact, CheckPoint.com even reported that legitimate sites such as CNN and Financial Times have more than 1,200 articles and 1,100 articles about the coronavirus respectively.

Ever since the World Health Organiztion categorized COVID-19 a global pandemic, numerous COVID-19 themed websites are popping up. Other malicious websites spread through different means like:

  • sending malicious links online,
  • attaching shady links on emails,
  • spreading through online ads, and other portals on social media.

So, everyone should be aware on how cybersecurity threats can spread. Don’t just be cautious over this new corona-virus-map[dot]com site, but also be careful on the links and emails you click when you browse for new information about the coronavirus. Read helpful on 4 Tips in Protecting Yourself from Coronavirus Phishing Sites

 

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