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Coronavirus-related scams are on the rise. Cybersecurity firms and public institutions are reporting how malicious agents are looking for a profit by leveraging the panic induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The problem is that, in times of great crisis just like this one, we are more susceptible to being victims of social engineering. Fear and panic make us inefficient decision-makers. Therefore, it has become paramount to step our cybersecurity game up.

At My IT Guy, we will address the implications of this new challenge and how you can protect yourself and your business.

Coronavirus-Induced Panic

This story has many faces but let’s start with the obvious one. The crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic has changed the world forever. 

It isn’t like humans haven’t seen a plague before; in fact, we had many times in the course of our history. The problem is that this is the first time for our generation. Now we are afraid, thinking that we and our loved ones could be next.

Regardless of the medical reality, it’s undeniable that there is fear in the air. Most of us worry about health matters and that makes us more prone to click where we shouldn’t.

The generalized fear we have today is, for the first time in plenty of time, mainly induced by health-related issues and not financial-induced ones. This creates a massive opportunity for malicious agents to design phishing campaigns for those who worry the most, knowing well the great chances of success.

Recession-Induced Panic

Business owners and managers are experiencing this same panic from a different perspective. The economy is receiving a huge blog, the stock market is in hardcore decline, and the unemployment statistics worldwide are rising fast.

Being worried about your business is natural in circumstances like this. There is massive pressure in doing things right to keep finances in positive territory… and that leads many owners to commit critical mistakes online, falling pray on social engineering attempts.

The Facts

Cybersecurity firm Check Point reported thousands of Coronavirus-related domains recently registered. This may seem normal, of course. The problem is that around 3 percent of these domains were rated as “malicious”.

It’s more than likely that these malicious websites will be used as part of phishing campaigns that leverage COVID-19 to spread fear.

In early March, the World Health Organization (WHO) made public that a phishing campaign was using emails sent by false WHO representatives. Both WHO and Check Point reported that malicious agents are heavily using WHO-branded resources in the attempts.

Such attempts were based on emails that contain attached files, inviting targets to review the medical recommendations described in these files. The attachment contains a virus that will spread in the victims’ devices.

Keep Yourself Safe

These times of crisis demand forceful measures. Individuals and organizations must be aware of the cybersecurity risks posed by the COVID-19. The fear-fueled environment is the right one for hackers to profit.

So, how do you keep your business safe?

The first thing everyone must do these days is to keep calm when browsing online. Naturally, this is something difficult taking into consideration the overwhelming amount of fear-inducing headlines coming from the media.

We must pay extra attention to any suspicious emails and websites that talk about the Coronavirus pandemic, especially those that offer “privileged” information contained in attached files and downloads. Awareness of the real risk is the first step to detect threats on time.

Then, businesses have the top priority of having the right mechanisms in place. Proofpoint and Ironscale are two powerful AI-powered solutions to protect organizations from social engineering attacks. These technologies use AI and machine learning to effectively scan and filter emails on time. Thanks to these, businesses don’t even receive the phishing emails in the first place, keeping the hacker’s success chances at zero.

At My IT Guy, our team trusts in Proofpoint and Ironscale technologies as the definitive solution to upgrade email security. During the Coronavirus crisis, your business can and will greatly benefit from them, enjoying a strong layer of security to keep the organization’s assets safe. 

If you want to know more, contact us today.

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