As the coronavirus health crisis continues, cyberattacks related to the pandemic occur daily. As such, we wanted to provide an overview of coronavirus-themed cyberattacks so you can know what to watch for.
The extent of the coronavirus has inspired new cyber threats that utilize people’s demand for information.
In other words, these threats focus on taking advantage of what is known as the human factor.
Cybercriminals understand and prey on human error, which is why phishing remains a significant problem in 2020.
And why, more than ever, it is important to always be vigilant and protect yourself with the latest email security technology.
Types of coronavirus-themed cyberattacks
Research in May has shown that within a three-week period, 192,000 coronavirus-related cyberattacks occurred per week, a 30% increase from the previous weeks.
This is through attack methods such as phishing emails along with suspicious websites/apps links, domain spoofing, credential stuffing, and malware. In fact, 94% of known attacks used phishing emails with malware.
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Malware is even being used to take advantage of overwhelmed healthcare organizations, while a spike in coronavirus-related scam websites have domain name registries suspending numerous accounts.
And with the increase in remote working, threat actors are even infiltrating Zoom and other meeting platforms.
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Typical lures include words like “corona” or “COVID” and the promise of up-to-date information. Messages might mimic known organizations such as the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, or Johns Hopkins Center.
At the beginning of the year, these cyberattacks focused on tracking maps and virus symptoms; by the end of March, they related to promoting awareness or stimulus payments.
Current attacks emphasize quarantine restrictions and a second wave of the virus.
Of course, foreign actors attempting to steal information on behalf of other nation-states have been prevalent since the beginning.
Worldwide responses to these attacks
Cybersecurity agencies around the world have stepped up during the pandemic to combat coronavirus-related cyberattacks.
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and U.K. National Cyber Security Centre released an informative joint statement April 8 on these cyber campaigns along with effective mitigation strategies.
INTERPOL went even further, specifically warning the healthcare industry of increased ransomware attacks and best protection practices.
And more than 1,000 IT professionals worldwide have formed a COVID-19 CTI League to stop cyberattacks on critical healthcare organizations.
But at the same time, it is also up to individuals to safeguard themselves.
Avoiding coronavirus-themed attacks
To avoid victimization, it is necessary to utilize a layered approach to cybersecurity.
Ensure that prevention and recovery strategies are updated continuously and that all software/hardware are patched and current.
Also, focus on employees, especially those new to remote working, by utilizing:
- Up-to-date awareness training
- Secure password strategies
- Tips on how to recognize phishing schemes
- An easy to access IT department to report possible scams
Test remote access capabilities and ensure employees follow and understand all procedures.
How Paubox can help
Paubox Email Suite Plus allows healthcare providers to send HIPAA compliant email to patients directly to patients email inboxes, no password or portal required.
It integrates with customers’ existing email platforms, such as Google Workspace or Microsoft 365, so that once it is enabled, users’ emails are sent fully encrypted without any change in workflow.
It also comes with robust inbound security technology which protects customers from email cyberattacks.
People worldwide want and need to receive continuous news about the health and well-being of their community. Both vigilance and strong cybersecurity are vital, particularly during stressful situations.