Cyberattacks rates have skyrocketed since the pandemic locked down the planet. Are you safe from these security threats?
The pandemic forced people to take a break from their daily activities, but cybercriminals were already hidden from the world, so they took no time off their jobs. On the contrary, during the lockdown, the number of cyberattacks spiked because hackers found new ways to exploit data and take advantage of the people isolated inside their houses.
In a statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee, an FBI representative stated that the agency had seen a spike in the number of cyber hacks in the first half of the year. By the end of May 2020, the Internet Crime Complaint Center registered the same number of complaints it had for the entire 2019 year.
While the authorities try to respond to the pandemic with new measures that should protect people from the virus' effects, no one considered a threat could come from another source. The governments offer unemployment checks, create programs to support people dealing with COVID-19, and provide the citizens in need with stimulus checks. Still, they didn't develop initiatives that should protect people from the increased risk associated with online crime.
Coronavirus repercussions extend to multiple sectors and are more significant than people would expect. The combination of people working from home and increased attacks can put both individuals and organizations at risk, especially if they're not well-informed on how they can protect themselves from a threat.
What are the most popular cyberattacks during the pandemic?
A dramatic news headline can evoke a compassionate response in people, convincing them to make charitable donations to organizations that help people face these challenging times. But since the start of the pandemic, the world has witnessed many fraud campaigns created to ask for donations for healthcare-related groups that don't exist. Fraudsters target both companies and individuals and take advantage of people's desire to help.
The World Health Organization is one of the many victims of cyberattacks. Scammers have impersonated the organization more than once, sending emails to ask for financial support for the COVID-19 Solidary Response Fund. WHO reports five times more cyber-attacks directed at their name or staff since the beginning of the pandemic.
The best way to prevent COVID-19 spread is to find and test the people who came into contact with diagnosed patients while they've been contagious. Tech companies like Google and Apple developed apps to support medical professionals' efforts, and some countries suggested their citizens to use these tracing apps to combat the virus.
But not all tracing programs available in the app store are legitimate. Security researchers identified over 12 deceitful apps that pretend to offer the same features as contract-tracing programs, but they are malware that collect information about the user.
The coronavirus crisis also coincided with a high growth of malicious email attacks, also named phishing techniques. Cyberhackers disguise these emails under the form of messages that provide pandemic-related content. The United Nations states that the number of phishing attacks has grown by 600% since the beginning of the year.
People becoming more dependent on the Internet facilitated cybercriminals' access to vulnerable victims. Research estimates that a phishing attack happens every 39 seconds, now that people work from home and rely on their email to complete tasks.
How can companies protect their employees from cyberattacks? One way is to provide each worker with VPN services. Most organizations use NordVPN and IPVanish because they are two of the most popular VPN services in the market. They offer the best value for price and enhance encryption and security.
Even before the world went into lockdown, ransomware was a popular cyberattack. But with organizations growing more dependent on electronic systems, the number of these attacks grew during the last months. Some hackers took advantage of the fact the planet is already in a vulnerable situation, so they focused on exploiting vulnerable infrastructure. They used all their resources and energy to attack companies that have recently adopted new infrastructure to adapt to the market's latest needs. Sadly, these businesses have no experience using these technologies and are prone to malicious attacks like ransomware.
During these times, people are more likely to open coronavirus-themed emails or access websites that promise to provide them with information about the crisis.