CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PHISHING EMAILS
Phishing emails have always been an ongoing threat to business and with the recent Covid-19 pandemic, malicious actors are exploiting the global emergency to capitalise on the fear and frenzy for profit.
Researchers have discovered scammers are increasingly impersonating official agencies such as the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and other legitimate organisations like John Hopkins University, leading recipients to believe the phishing emails are authentic.
The emails have a number of different intended goals from distributing malware, stealing sensitive information (e.g. credit card details), selling fraudulent goods and asking for donations for fake cures or charities.
To minimise the effectiveness of phishing attacks, employee training is advised to raise awareness of common techniques and highlight the main indicators of phishing emails as listed below:
What to do if you already clicked or replied:
If you have already replied then don’t panic as there are a number of practical and quick steps you can take to address the situation:
Coronavirus Fake Ads:
Alongside phishing emails, researchers have also seen a wave of fake advertisements for Covid-19 products that claim to offer treatment or cures. These adverts often try to create a sense of importance and urgency with terms like “limited supply”.
If you did click on these advertisements, you could have downloaded malware onto your device and should seek assistance.
Purchasing a fake product would result in monetary loss and you may receive a useless product, or more likely, nothing at all. Worse still, the malicious actor is now in possession of personal information like your home address, name and credit card information.
Overall, it advised to ignore any advertisements from organisations you don’t know or trust as they are unlikely to be legitimate. Recognising key indicators such as “forced urgency” or “suspect claims” can help users avoid and report suspicious content themed around Covid-19, reducing the chances of a successful attack.
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