Coronavirus Phishing & Other Covid-19 Scams | Resources And Security Alerts
In the Coronavirus phishing campaigns, emails are disguised to look like they are being sent by medical authorities like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).
An example is a fake email claiming to have been sent by the CDC. These emails are asking recipients to click on a link to learn about safety measures or new cases in their cities. Eventually, the recipient is asked to share financial details like the bank or credit card details or personal information like social security numbers.
Other forms of coronavirus phishing emails include fake workplace policy emails that appear to be sent by organizations. They target remote employees and include links to log in to fake company pages. The motive is to obtain user credentials.
How To Protect Yourself From Coronavirus Phishing Campaigns?
So, how do you spot coronavirus phishing mails, other Covid scam attemps, and protect yourself? The first thing to remember is that the objective of these emails is the same as any other phishing email – to make you click on an embedded link or open an email attachment.
Here are some tips to easily spot a Coronavirus phishing email:
1. Check the email address
Hackers are good at creating fake email addresses that closely resemble legitimate ones. For example, email addresses with the website domain as “@cdc-gov.org” or “@who-pc.com.” First, determine if these domains are genuine and operational before acting upon the email.
Here is an example of a phishing email with a fake email address:
2. Do not click on suspicious links in an email
Cybercriminals include genuine-looking links in the phishing email to make people click on them. However, when the user clicks on them, they are redirected to a different target URL of a phishing site. Before clicking on any such links, hover your mouse over the link and view the URL link where it would lead.
Here’s an example of a fake CDC phishing email containing a suspicious link:
3. Beware of phishing SMS
Emails are not the sole medium through which hackers target users for phishing. Cybercriminals could also send an SMS with suspicious links. When you click on the link, you are taken to a website that could steal your financial information.
These cases are far sneakier as our mobile phones hardly have the security measures we have on our work laptops or computers.
4. Beware of social media posts
Cybercriminals know that people are on the lookout for virus-related information on social media, and therefore, social media is a fertile ground for these activities.
5. Do not submit any personal information
As mentioned before, phishing emails aim to obtain your personal or financial information. As a rule, do not submit any confidential information as a response to such emails. Banks or any other legitimate agencies don’t ask for any such data or any login credentials.
Additionally, delete any emails that ask for personal information on an immediate or urgent basis.
Times of crisis require that we are well-informed and responsible. It is important that we secure ourselves and those around us. Just like we are participating in social distancing and self-quarantining offline to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, let us commit to stopping the spread of such Covid scams and misinformation.
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