Cybercriminals across the world are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic by targetting netizens, including amateur online hackers with dangerous malware in the guise of “special COVID-19” offers. A cyber-security company in a blog post even noted that the number of dubious coronavirus-related domains have rapidly increased from January till the end of February – a period when the virus alongside was swiftly spreading. The company also claimed that special offers by different hackers promoting “goods” were being sold over the darknet with special “COVID19” or “coronavirus” discount codes. Some websites were also noticed selling premium products such as the MacBook Air at throwaway prices under special coronavirus discounts.
To break it down, as the pandemic continues to spread across the world, netizens are searching for more for the latest information and updates on coronavirus online. As coronavirus-related searches continue to surge, hackers also try to accelerate their phishing attempts through malicious coronavirus-domains. According to the cyber-security company, Check Point Research, since the beginning of January over 16,000 new coronavirus-related domains were registered. The company claims that these coronavirus-themed domains are 50 percent more likely to be malicious than other dubious domains.
The cyber-security company also claimed that hackers through spam mails are targeting organisations where large numbers of coronavirus cases have been observed. For instance, a coronavirus-themed phishing campaign has severely hit roughly 10 percent of the organisations in Italy where over three thousand deaths due to the disease were reported.
Moreover, Check Point observed that hackers are attacking amateur cyber-attackers with special coronavirus discounts on online hacking tools.
In order to stay safe from such malware attacks, emails and files received from unknown senders should be taken with caution. Check Point in their blog post further suggested that users should not open promotional links that provide “special coronavirus offers.”