How hackers are taking advantage of the COVID crisis

We shared the news recently how the FBI is warning California to be on the watch for COVID-19 related scams, but it’s not just our state that needs to be on guard – it’s the whole world. Hackers, doing what they do, are taking advantage of the chaos and confusion the pandemic has created and are working overtime putting COVID-related scams to work. While everyone can be a target, unfortunately some that are being targeted more than others are among those on the front line, doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, police and other first responders.

Google warned recently that it has been identifying more than 240 million Covid-related spam messages per day, and that the previous week it had detected 18 million phishing and malware emails related to the pandemic each day. Overall, Gmail blocks more than 100 million phishing emails daily.

Here at Softcom we constantly share information that empowers our customers and our community to stay safe, be smart, and avoid falling into the traps that hackers and scammers are constantly sending out. Digital scams and phishing campaigns related to Covid-19 have been exploding since January, so we wanted to share with you a quick list of scams we’ve heard about and how to avoid them.

Food scams: With the way the restaurant industry has changed, phishing scams are targeting people through email with messages posting as coronavirus-related updates from local restaurants and fast-food chains. These types of emails included coupons or free meal offers framed as pandemic specials, and others promoted malicious links as portals to order food online.

PPE scams: Personal Protective Equipment is top of everyone’s minds these days, so it’s no surprise that scammers are using this subject to entice people to click on malicious links, or provide credit card numbers and bank accounts to order protective equipment such as masks, visors, clothing coverings, antibacterial supplies and more that don’t really exist.

Healthcare “ransom” demands: Medical facilities and organizations have been hit by ransomware attacks during the quarantine, with hacker grounds stealing data and holding it for ransom. Hammersmith Medicines Research, a British company that previously tested the Ebola vaccine and is on standby to perform the medical trials on COVID-19 vaccines, recently reported that their IT systems identified a ransomware attack in progress and managed to stop it and restore their system without having to pay ransom. They were lucky, though, as other similar organizations, including the World Health Organization, continue to deal with phishing scams and hacking attempts nonstop.

In this age where hackers are a continual threat, it’s necessary to be as vigilant during this quarantine period as you were during normal work, school and home routines. If you suspect that you might be a target of hackers or fallen victim to a phishing scam, please check out our cybersecurity awareness article for information and ideas for what to do. And for any questions about Softcom routers, Softcom wireless home networks, or account security give us a call at (800) 982-7675 or 1 (888) 4-SOFTCOM, we’re here to help.

Kristy CooperHow hackers are taking advantage of the COVID crisis