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Staying Cybersafe During The COVID-19 Pandemic: Part 1

Coronavirus-1While many of us around the globe are worried about catching this nasty virus, hackers are finding that this is a perfect time to unleash viruses of their own.  During the pandemic, Uzado will be posting updates about what is out there and how you can take steps to protect yourself and your business from cyberattacks during this time.

Cyberattackers are using websites to deliver malware. In some cases, they are creating their own sites to look like legitimate COVID-19 information sites.  In others, they are taking advantage of weak security controls on legitimate sites to spread malware via drive-by downloads. Checkpoint estimates that 3% of coronavirus related domain names 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 since January 2020.  A common approach hides readily available malware (such as AZORult) inside coronavirus heat maps or early-warning applications.

Social engineering ploys based on COVID-19 are also on the rise. Social engineering is used by attackers to gain information, money, or access to protected systems by tricking legitimate users. Canadians were recently warned by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about a text scam (“smishing”). The scam involves tricking users who applied for the emergency aid program: a text supposedly from the Canadian government tells the user that $1,375 had been put into their account. The attempt is to try and trick users into disclosing banking information.  Another fraudulent text targeting Canadians includes a text that seems to be coming from Shoppers Drug Mart offering free points.  In Italy, a targeted email phishing campaign, hit over 10% of all organizations with the aim of exploiting concerns over the growing cluster of infections in the country. The email is purportedly from WHO, but it isn’t.  The email also includes an attachment that when opened, downloads Ostap Trojan-Downloader, which is known to be a Trickbot downloader.

When it comes to phishing and malicious website, it pays to be vigilant.  Even after the pandemic is over, it would be wise to put these best practices into action always.  With regards to unsolicited emails, it pays to be cautious when they are received from unknown senders, especially if they prompt for a certain action you would not usually do. When you are ordering online, ensure you are ordering from an authentic source. One of the best ways to do this is to avoid clicking on promotional links in emails, and instead Google your desired retailer and click the link from the Google results page. It also pays to be suspicious of “special” offers. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  No one is going to offer you a cure for COVID-19 via email, nor is the government going to text you relief money.  Always beware of lookalike domains, spelling errors in emails or websites, and unfamiliar email senders.

Uzado is here to help.  If you need help staying cyber safe during this pandemic, please give us a call. 

Does COVID-19 have you facing new security challenges?  Unsure how to cope? Contact us for a free security consultation

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