As the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic continues to intensify across the globe, criminals are ramping up their phishing and fraud efforts, often masked as COVID-19 updates, donation platforms, and related phone apps. Especially in times of crisis, cyber-attackers latch their messaging onto the latest news or media sensation and pretend to be a valid source of information or outreach. Once engaged with these fraudulent means (emails, phone calls, texts, or social media/internet links), criminals aim to steal your money, by deploying malware onto your device or taking advantage of the sensitive information you may have provided.
Since the rapid spread of COVID-19 into the United States and Europe, it has been reported that over 2,500 cyber-attacks per day are that leverage information related to the virus. It is anticipated that these numbers will continue to rise as the virus reaches its peak.
There’s a number of ways to protect yourself from cyber criminals during this pandemic. Here’s a shortlist of tips, which is also encouraged by the US’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA):
- Be wary of unsolicited emails and attachments
- Government websites are trusted sources for the COVID-19 information
- Personal or financial information should not be sent via email
- Review the authenticity of an organization, before making a donation
For more relevant, real-time information on COVID-19 and protecting yourself from cyber-attacks, visit www.cisa.gov and www.cdc.gov.