The Spread of Novel Coronavirus pandemic is significantly increasing the target of cybercrimes from Individuals to major Corporations and government sectors etc., around the world as the cyber defences would to lower due to fluctuating focus on the health crisis.  

COVID-19 online campaigns luring the users through fake vaccination information, Impersonating government & Health authorities, Purchases of medical and Pharmaceutical supplies to steal data using spam messages with malware intent.  

Also, few Android play store applications claimed to be a tracker of Corona cases. The app invades the privacy of the user by accessing their device camera, Photos, Videos, etc. when they are using them for tracking the pandemic. 

Reported cyber crimes in COVID time as per the research is around 1,00,000 spam messages from February to June 2020 & 50,000 malicious domain URLs all related to this pandemic. 

 Cyber-attacks during COVID-19

During these lock down periods, people are mostly involved in online activities like social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., and watching TV shows and movies online using Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hotstar, etc., also few indulging in playing online games which is connected always to internet. Many people tend to give permissions to the applications to the personal information of their electronic devices to access the services provided by the apps.  All this leads to having opened the doors for malware and spyware attacks. And these activities are boon to cyber criminals and hackers all over the world.

Types of Cyberattacks in COVID period 

The coronavirus, which is being widely discussed as a major news story, has already been used as bait by cybercriminals,” said Anton Ivanov, Kaspersky. So here we go,

  • Malware – Cyber criminals are using these pandemic situations to their profits through phishing campaigns for sending spam emails which tricks the users to click emails embedded with malware & Trojans into the attachments, so the content downloads and installs virus in the devices. 
  • Malicious URLs – There are a notable number of websites registered domains on the internet which contains terms related to “COVID-19” or Coronavirus etc., while there are few legitimate websites, cybercriminal are creating various malicious sites to use Phishing campaigns or Spreading malware contents to the users around the world.
  • Ransomware – Many Public institutions, Medical sectors, Small & Mid-sized businesses are facing Ransomware attacks by hackers as they believe it will pay some ransom to the criminals. Malware enters to target by email attachments, Employee credentials, or exploiting the vulnerabilities of the system. 
  • Fake Mobile Applications – It has been a great advantage for the cyber criminals to create fake applications which is related to COVID-19 pandemic which promises to share the tracking corona cases, Vaccination news details, Safety masks purchases, etc., which also gets access to the devices for attackers during the permissions given while the application installation.

Recommendations for remote workers:

As there is an increasing number of employees working from home from various countries and sectors, now is the time to focus on cyber security measures to keep the data safe from the home network and environment. 

  • Keep all your information safe and store independently from the system to any personal cloud, External storage and company provided storage (working professionals). 
  • Always be vigilant before accessing any company’s legitimate websites while entering the credentials. As it could look like actual websites to lure the user to steal information. 
  • Ensure to have the latest version of Antivirus & Operating system patches installed on your phones and computer devices. And initiate a regular health check-up of the devices and scans on time to keep them safe from cyber-attacks.
  • Disable third-party extensions in the browsers and uninstall the unknown or out-dated components, applications that no more could be used. 
  • Do not click the emails or attachments which could receive from unknown senders. Secure email gateway servers. 
  • Keep your passwords secret and updated with strong combinations, so that it will be difficult for hackers to steal the credentials easily. 

Conclusions:  

We expect to see more cyber-attacks in this pandemic based on the future as the infection spreads and it could be more when there is news on the release of vaccination for Coronavirus. And as we see that Major IT Corporate and businesses are permitted to work from home which has raised the cyber crimes in the time. So, it’s important to be vigilant and due diligence to protect our data privacy. If you still fall in the traps of cyber crimes it is advisable to report to the concerned department so track and reduce the possible damages. 

Reference Links: 

https://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/us/security/news/cybercrime-and-digital-threats/coronavirus-used-in-spam-malware-file-names-and-malicious-domains

https://www.performanta.com/resources/coronavirus-fears-exploited-by-newly-registered-domains/

https://pastebin.com/Ye7VbiAT (IOCs).

https://pastebin.com/YFai7KHA (IOCs).

By Michael

Writer of Infohaunt is an Cyber Security Professional have experience in SOC operations, Threat Management, Incident Response, Threat Hunting, Digital Forensics.

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