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How to detect Covid-19 related phishing scams

  • Cronavirus-related email phishing attacks rises in February to 1,188 from 137 in January
  • Scam Emails offering cures and medication for Covid-19 need to be strictly deleted as there is no vaccine available for it yet as per WHO & ICMR.
  • Use of good Antivirus or Firewall to detect such phishing mails from suspicious senders.

In the current situation of Corona Virus crises, made the several cities in lockdown people are forced to work from home. Cyber threats & phishing attacks have been on the rise due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Details

Barracuda Networks’ AI based IT Security company in a blog post writes, they have detected 467,825 spear phishing email attacks, worldwide between March 1 and March 23. Around 9,116 emails were related to Covid-19 virus, accounting for 2% of the cyber attacks.

Cyber-criminals have been trying to take advantage of this crises by targeting individuals with malicious emails giving out information on the Covid-19 and seeking donations.These scam emails might seem convincing at first, but clicking on a link or file attachments might expose individuals to all sorts of cyber attacks.

Ways to identify Covid-19 related phishing emails :

Emails from fake websites & organisations

One of the email scams caught was sent in the name of an fake organisation called World Health Community, which actually doesn’t exist. If you are getting such mails then you need to verify the names of the organisations form which the email has been sent. A simple Google search with a authentic website can reveal that.

Read more : Kaspersky offers free licenses to Healthcare Sector amid Covid-19

Misspelled Fake domain names

To look more convincing, Cyber criminals are using actual names with genuine logos of trusted and authentic organisations. Several emails carrying logos and names of WHO were recorded. Similarly, Kaspersky – antivirus company found emails sent in the name of Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, using fake domain names, cdc-gov.org, whereas the real CDC domain is cdc.gov. Kasperksy suggests, if you hover over the link without clicking on it, you can see the domain name address it leads to is different than the link description.

Bellow are the potentially dangerous domains:

  • coronavirusstatus[.]space
  • blogcoronacl.canalcero[.]digital
  • coronavirus-map[.]com
  • coronavirus[.]zone
  • coronavirus-realtime[.]com
  • coronavirusaware[.]xyz
  • coronavirus[.]app
  • bgvfr.coronavirusaware[.]xyz

Look for difference

In many such suspicious emails name of WHO is used asking individuals to make donations in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins. However WHO doesn’t accept donations in Bitcoin. Similarly, an phishing email spotted by Check Point firewall was signed off by a doctor from WHO based in Italy.

Read more : K7 Computing to provide free subscriptions to its cyber security products

Website seems out of place

In another set of malicious emails found by It security company Kaspersky, after clicking on an the mentioned link, the user is redirected to a phishing website showing a Microsoft Outlook interface, asking them to login with their e-mail login and password. Kaspersky warns it is a phishing website which has nothing to do with outlook. In reality, it is a phishing page developed to store users keystrokes and steal passwords and other sensitive information.

Emails from Unknown Senders

Email coming from unknown email address with less information in the body and a link to click on or attachment should be avoided, unless sent from a verified sender. Clicking on link can expose you to cyber attacks while a malicious attachment can install trojens, keyloggers and malwares. You can lose control over system and personal or financial data may end up on Dark Web for sale.

Ones that make fake promises

Emails offering cures or medicines for Covid-19 virus needs to be strictly avoided as there is no cure or vaccine available till now. If there are vaccine available, it will be announced by concerned authorities and covered by reputed media publications who are tracking the Covid-19 development closely.

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