As the novel coronavirus continues to sweep the world, a new threat seems to have emerged as cybercriminals seem to have jumped on the opportunity of attacking personal and professional networks with employees looking to work from home, in order to avoid spreading of infection.
Researchers have pointed out that phishing activities and scams are becoming a constant menace. So what do we know about these scams and how can you avoid getting exposed.
Here’s everything you’d want to know.
How These Scams Work?
You could be on the receiving end of an email or a message that looks like it has been sent by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Ministry of Health, or even your own organisation.
This email or message would mimic an official announcement and could potentially contain a link that would prompt you to enter your login credentials.
Entering your login credentials is enough for hackers, as they can use this to get all your records and personal details. What is even more dangerous is that if you are logged into your company's network, the cybercriminals could find their way into that as well and attack the host network.
You could also receive emails containing malware, which could be in the form of an attachment saying it contains details that may claim to offer cure from the virus outbreak for those who’re affected.
The mail could also have a message impersonating the government. In such cases, downloading any attachment should be strictly avoided, or else the hackers could steal confidential data which can be sold in the dark web.
Hackers can also infect your mobile phones with malicious apps. Some apps available through Google and Apple app stores are disguised as coronavirus trackers or information apps but in reality they’re malware. And while Google and Apple have delisted a lot of fake apps, new ones seem to generate from time to time.
How To Keep Yourself Safe
So how can you prevent yourself from getting scammed due to the novel coronavirus? Here are a few handy tips.
- Check the sender’s address - If you have received an email or a message that looks fishy, look at the email address or the phone number of the sender.
- Check the link - If the email or message redirects you to an external webpage, it could contain misspelled words like “coronnavirus” or “COVID-9” instead of COVID-19. Check for these errors and misspellings. The best thing to do would be to go to WHO’s website and check whether the information is legitimate or you're being scammed.
- Don't open attachments - Avoid opening or downloading attachments that look suspicious. There is a high chance that they contain malware.
- Get antivirus software - Keep your system protected by having antivirus software and update it regularly. It can go a long way in protecting your personal data and credentials.
- Download apps only from Google and Apple's app store - Don't download applications from third-party websites or try to side load apps on your devices from uncertain sources.