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Scam Emails, Phishing Links And Malicious Attachments, All In The Name Of Coronavirus!
Mar 10, 2020
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to spread across the globe, many are taking advantage of the situation by not only distributing fake information, but also to engage in cyber-criminal activities.
Kaspersky reports that many scams emails with phishing links and malicious attachments have made its way into users’ inboxes, capitalizing on the worldwide crisis.
One of the latest spam campaigns mimics the World Health Organization (WHO), showing how cybercriminals recognize and are exploiting on the important role WHO has in providing trustworthy information about the coronavirus, and the scam looks more realistic than ever!
Upon receiving an email allegedly from WHO, advising the public about safety measures to be taken to avoid infection from the virus, users are redirected to a phishing website and prompted to share personal information, which ends up in the hands of cybercriminals after clicking on the link embedded in the email.
Some spam emails also contain fake information about wondrous vaccines developed to cure the COVID-19 infection!
Kaspersky detection technologies have also found malicious files disguised as documents related to the virus. The files are usually masked under the guise of pdf, mp4 and docx files containing information about the virus. It could be video instructions on how to protect yourself from the virus or even updates in the threat or any virus detection procedures.
What users may not know is that these files contain a range of threats, from Trojans to worms, which are capable of destroying, blocking, modifying or copying data, as well as interfering with the operation of computers or computer networks.
According to malware analyst, Anton Ivanov, the number of users whose devices have malicious files named after the coronavirus on them has risen to 403 in 2020, with a total of 2,673 detections and 513 unique files distributed. However, while this is quite a significant increase, the threat of these scams is still considered rather minimal.
In order to protect yourself against these malicious cyber-criminal activities, Kaspersky advises users to carefully study the content of the emails they receive and only trust reliable sources. If any email content promises a vaccine (that has not yet been developed in real life) or some magic protective measures, it is most likely sent by cybercriminals to gather your private information.
Another tell-tale sign would be if the sender suggests clicking on a link and sharing your personal data or opening an attachment. Do not in any circumstances, donate any real money or trust information with promises to help those affected by the virus, even if the email comes from someone who introduces themselves as an employee of a trusted organization. When in doubt, double-check the email address, as scammers often use free email services or addresses that have no relation to the organization mentioned.
Be informed and stay safe, everyone!
By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya