How Covid-19 is Impacting Cyber Crime and What You Can Do About it

Attacks on communication and collaboration tool

As the remote work trend took off, so did the higher emphasis on online communication and collaboration tools. The very tools that businesses use for conducting virtual meetings, communicating with their peers and collaborating on projects, have also grabbed the attention of hackers.

We saw an exponential increase in attacks targeting those communication and collaboration apps and we might expect this trend to continue in the years to come. Businesses need to look for new ways to secure their communication, such as adopting a communication tool that is designed with security in mind or one that adopts secure authentication methods.

Social engineering attacks

Humans are the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain and hackers are fully aware of it. The growing number of social engineering attacks, especially phishing attacks, is a testament to that. COVID-19 has further aggravated the situation, as hackers can now launch full-fledged COVID-linked phishing attacks. We have already seen examples of email campaigns targeting people with malicious attachments or diverting them to fake websites of coronavirus statistics and maps. As this disease continues to wreak havoc, we might see hackers playing on the fears and uncertainties of people, and taking advantage of coronavirus-themed social engineering attacks to fulfill their malicious intent. The best way to cope with these types of attacks is to increase employee awareness.

Trojan and spyware

Trojans have always been used by hackers to gain access to user devices. Once a user device is compromised, they can use it to perform fraudulent transactions by using the IP address or create botnets to perform other malicious activities. Similarly, spyware is designed to collect sensitive user information such as financial or personal data. Some attackers will sell that data to earn money while others may misuse it to reach other accounts.

Here are some of the ways you can safeguard your business from Trojan and spyware.

  • Avoid clicking on pop-ups and spam messages
  • Keep an eye out for suspicious behavior and report immediately
  • Never download and install software from an untrusted source
  • Do not click on links or attachments sent to you via email

Malicious apps

With people spending more time online than offline, there has been an exponential increase in app usage, especially apps that are linked to the malicious apps from getting into app stores, there is still along way to go before we completely eradicate malicious applications from popular app stores. Cyber criminals are experts in hiding malicious code in apps in such a way that it can bypass even the strictest vetting process.

Ransomware attacks

Ransomware attacks have evolved drastically over the last five years. From targeting large-scale enterprises to infecting critical infrastructures such as schools, hospitals, and power stations, ransomware has become more sophisticated and dangerous. Yes, it might not be as common as it once was, but it is still a significant threat that shouldn’t be overlooked. The easiest way to save yourself from financial losses caused by ransomware is to backup your data frequently.

Malicious links and attachments

Probably the most common tactic used by cybercriminals during this pandemic, hackers have flooded the inboxes of people with emails containing malicious links and attachments. Most of these emails claim that they have a solution to this pandemic. The click baits persuade the receiver to open the email and download the attachment or click on the link which would then take them to a malicious website, which can infect their system. Once hackers get complete access to user’s account and data, they can either steal it, sell it or make it inaccessible for the user. Never click on any link until you know where it points to. The same goes for attachments.

The rise of fake news

According to research conducted by Lloyd’s Register Foundation, 71% of people consider cyber crime as the biggest operational concern, especially the spread of fraudulent news followed by cyber bullying. Whenever you get information from any online source, make sure to double-check the authenticity of that information by going to the original source.

Avoid sharing any information before verifying it lest you become a part of the misinformation cycle. Never rely on a single source of information and make sure to verify every information bit from multiple sources. If you see someone spreading fabrications, correct them immediately.