Cyberthreats to watch out for during the COVID-19 crisis

Cyber attackers constantly keep on evolving to take advantage of changing online behaviour and trends. Given the current situation caused by Covid-19, cyber attackers are now exploiting the public fear of the pandemic for malicious activities. Not just the fear, they are also taking advantage of a remote workforce that has now become the new norm due to Covid-19.

A major part of a remote workforce uses personal devices to access business-critical data. They also use various SaaS applications for seamless collaboration. An increase in the usage of SaaS applications and the flow of email for communication have increased the probability of cyberattacks. And businesses need to enhance their data security if they want to face these ever-increasing cyber threats. But to prevent or avoid cyberattacks and improve data security, they need to be aware of possible exploitations to identify threats and respond to them. Hence, we have listed a few cyber threats to watch out for during the Covid-19 crisis.

Potential cyberthreats during COVID-19

With a huge number of emails and websites for Covid-19 awareness and remote workforce accessing business-critical data through personal devices, the businesses’ vulnerability to the following potential cyberattacks has grown:

Phishing attacks

Various health organizations, businesses, and government sectors are sending emails related to Covid-19 to spread awareness about the current pandemic. Cyber attackers are using this flow of emails to their advantage. Google said that it blocks 18 million spam emails related to Covid-19 every day. The number reveals how cybercriminals are working to target individuals and people who are working from home.

Cyber attackers are pretending to be senior administrators of business to send such fake Covid-19 awareness emails for phishing attacks. Due to the current pandemic’s fear, people are more likely to visit a link to find Covid-19 information and become a victim. Through phishing attacks, cybercriminals can steal information such as login credentials and credit card numbers.

Business Email Compromise (BEC)

If your organization is currently working remotely, then your and your employees’ email inbox must be busier now than ever. Threat actors are taking it as a golden opportunity to compromise with business emails. The FBI has recently warned of BEC dangers based on a few previous examples. They also anticipate a rise in BEC attacks in the coming period.

Cybercriminals can request a payroll update, for example, to initiate a BEC attack. They can pretend to be a senior administrator and mention Covid-19 as a reason for a payroll update. If an employee responds to that email, then they are likely to become a victim of a BEC attack.

Malicious domains

Looking at the current Covid-19 situation, there are multiple websites on the internet having terms like coronavirus, corona-virus, Covid19, or Covid-19, among other such related terms. Amongst these multiple legitimate websites, threat actors are creating new malicious websites with similar names to attack individuals and organizations.

Cyber attackers can use these malicious websites to carry out phishing and spam campaigns, or spread malware.

Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)

DDoS is an attempt to overwhelm a network infrastructure with excessive internet traffic. Cybercriminals carry out DDoS attacks by disrupting the normal traffic flow of a targeted server or network. There is no denying that during the current pandemic, where a remote workforce has become a new norm, and people are using different networks and private devices, carrying out DDoS attacks have become much simpler for threat actors.

Cyber attackers can use multiple compromised machines and devices to attack a network’s traffic. Once the traffic has increased, and a DDoS attack has achieved effectiveness, cybercriminals can steal all the information they want from your servers.

Ransomware threats

Ransomware attacks have shown an increase in 2020 due to Covid-19. Threat actors are targeting hospitals and medical centres as they are overwhelmed by medical records due to the current health crisis. Cyber attackers think that hospitals and other medical organizations are more likely to pay ransom due to Covid-19. For instance, if an attacker steals medical records from a hospital, then treatment to all the patients might be impacted. And looking at the mortality rate of Covid-19, it is more likely that the hospital would be compelled to pay the ransom to get back the records for saving the lives of their patients.

Trojan horse threats

Trojan horse attacks are usually carried out with the help of software. Attackers disguise compromised software as legitimate, and as users download and install it, the software executes Trojans on their systems. Now during this current pandemic, it is easy for cybercriminals to convince remote working individuals to download software.

Remote working is beneficial, but it is also challenging. Challenging in the terms that it requires constant collaboration and seamless access to business data. Threat actors can send an email to advertise software that can help individuals in working remotely. For instance, they can send emails with a link to download a software that can help in seamless collaboration. If a remote worker is fascinated with the software’s features and installs it, then he or she will become a victim of the trojan horse attack.

Malware attacks

Cybercriminals are taking advantage of various ongoing Covid-19 communications to mask their activities. They are using these communications and information websites to smoothly carry out malware attacks. For instance, they are placing malware in interactive Covid-19 maps. When people click on an infected Covid-19 map, they are redirected to a malicious website.

Cybercriminals are doing every possible thing to capitalize on the Covid-19 situation. Awareness about how cybercriminals are using the health crisis to exploit data security and make it vulnerable will help companies and individuals to avoid being victims. Most of the threats mentioned earlier arise because of emails. You can use enhanced email security solutions to prevent these cyberattacks.

You can also enhance your data security with the help of contextual intelligence. Context-based data leak prevention firewall will help you develop your own protocols and policies for enhanced data security. Similarly, you can also leverage our Enterprise Cloud solution. Our Enterprise Cloud solution scans every packet of critical business data that is accessed or sent even from a public WiFi. It enforces routing all the traffic and data packets through the head office firewall, ensuring optimal data security.