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How Cybercriminals Profit from COVID-19 and What You Can Do to Stop Them

Boost your cybersecurity stance by learning how to apprehend online offenders. Adopt encryption, strengthen network security, and foster a cyber-awareness culture to efficiently protect your digital assets.

How Cybercriminals Profit from COVID-19

Gain control over online risks by learning how to apprehend cybercriminals. To protect your digital landscape, use multifactor authentication, update software often, and exercise caution.

As COVID-19 fears surge, cybercriminals are thriving off of the panic. An increasing number of people are seeking information on the coronavirus and scammers have realized that if they pose their sites as educational resources, they can earn the trust of users to exploit them.

In addition to attacking individuals, cyber attackers are also targeting businesses and, worst of all, hospitals on the front lines. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that cybercrime has increased fivefold since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

3 most common cyber attacks

With a proactive advice on halting cybercriminals’ efforts, stay one step ahead of them. For strong protection, bolster your defenses with encryption, strong passwords, and frequent cybersecurity assessments.

Here are a few of the most common cyber attacks you should be careful of and how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.

#1. Phishing Schemes

One of the most common types of cyberattacks is the phishing scheme, though attackers have added a coronavirus twist to their latest attacks.

A typical phishing scheme usually impersonates a reliable and trustworthy source in an effort to get users to share their information.

Since the coronavirus has begun, many phishing schemes involve sending emails with links to fake websites that impersonate real ones.

For example, one recent Coronavirus phishing scheme was targeted at Bank of America customers. Hackers sent an email to Bank of America (BOA) users with a link (corona-masr21[.]com/boa/bankofamerica/login.php) to a fake website that mimicked Bank of America’s real website.

On the website, users were asked to log in with their BOA credentials, thinking that they are logging into their real account. In doing so, they unknowingly gave away all of their bank account information to a fraudster.

To protect yourself, don’t enter login credentials or credit card information into a website without the padlock next to the URL and be sure that the URL is the exact same as the official website’s URL.

#2. Selling Fake Low Supply Items

In addition to phishing schemes, many hackers are also creating websites with coronavirus-related domains, such as allsurgicalfacemask[.]com.

In fact, approximately 2,000 domain names related to the coronavirus are malicious. In this case, many customers believe that they are purchasing a face mask when in reality they are just handing over their credit card information to a hacker.

In this event, avoid purchasing products from private websites and if they have an address, make sure to Google it first.

In the above example, the building listed as the company’s address was actually a government building and many of the reviews were poorly written. Try to purchase from sites like Amazon where the seller can’t get your information directly.

#3. Ransomware

One of the most heartbreaking schemes that cyberattackers have taken advantage of is ransomware. They usually prey on larger organizations that have more capital to immediately pay a large ransom.

Recently, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District of Illinois arrived at work to find their entire system hijacked.

Thankfully, they had transferred medical records to the cloud a few months earlier, but their website was still down for three days. As this was their main method of communication with the public, they elected to just pay the $300,000 ransom that the hackers demanded to get their website back.

Many hospitals around the world have experienced this and some have even been forced to delay life-saving surgeries because their information was down.

This is also happening more and more frequently in businesses as many are moving online faster than they are prepared to and hackers are preying on employees that are still learning about cybersecurity.

If you’re a leader in an organization, be sure to educate your employees on cybersecurity measures and how they can protect themselves (don’t give out personal information to unknown sources).

Also, make sure to also store your records in a cloud as you’ll still be able to access them should someone hack your website.

Conclusion

As we all adjust to an increasingly virtual world, remember to be safe and double-check before giving away any personal information.

Confirm that any website you interact with is, in fact, part of a reputable organization and not a lookalike. As with everything else, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

About the Author

Max Emelianov started HostForWeb in 2001. In his role as HostForWeb’s CEO, he focuses on teamwork and providing the best support for his customers while delivering cutting-edge web hosting services.

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