Unless you’ve been in complete lack of contact with the world, you’ve probably heard of the coronavirus pandemic going around. With widespread travel bans, quarantines, and school and workplace shutdowns, the growing panic can be felt, as people are clearing out supermarket aisles of sanitary goods and take all necessary precautions to not catch the deadly virus.
Taking advantage of this growing panic are cybercriminals. According to Check Point’s research “there have been over 4,000 coronavirus-related domains registered globally. Coronavirus-related domains are 50% more likely to be malicious than other domains registered in the same period, and also higher than recent seasonal themes such as Valentine’s Day.”
The attackers are sending messages to victims, spreading conspiracy theories about unpublished medicines and treatments, and using names of legitimate health organizations, such as WHO (World Health Organization). This way, attackers try to steal information or distribute links to websites designed to steal identification information.
Here’s an example of a phishing email impersonating the World Health Organization with an attachment that leads to the installation of malware:
In recent months, many fraudulent sites have been identified as seeking to sell face masks, vaccines, and home virus detection kits. One example is a Russian website offering for sale the “best test kit for detecting the Coronavirus for 19,000 rubles (about $300)”.
also a malicious app called “Coronavirus” impersonating as an app
that allows real-time viewing of the virus spread rate.
Many of these domains and apps will likely be used for phishing
attempts. ZoneAlarm Extreme
Security has been
able to spot and block these malicious websites and apps with its Anti-Phishing
and Mobile Security features.
How can I
Suspect threatening messages like “If you don’t open the
file…”, “50 more vaccines left to purchase” or seductive
(“Purchase vaccine/mask at 70% off”).
Check the sender’s name and address carefully – Do not open links
or perform actions coming from an unknown sender or from someone whose
credibility is questionable.
Instead of clicking on promotion ads, search your desired retailer
and click the link from the browser results page. You can use ZoneAlarm’s Safe
Search engine as part of the Web Secure Free product
to ensure the websites you visit are safe.
Avoid clicking suspicious links in emails or clicking promotional
links. Proactively search for your sites and services using your browser.
Avoid downloading/opening attachments in unfamiliar or suspicious
emails – scammers try to entice you with documents that allegedly contain virus
protection instructions, but they contain malware.
Ensure you are ordering goods from an authentic source. One way to
do this is NOT to click on promotional links in emails, and instead Google your
desired retailer and click the link from the Google results page.
Consienta Cyber Awareness and Check Point Software Technologies