3 COVID-19-Related Cybersecurity Threats to Know

3 COVID-19-Related Cybersecurity Threats to Know

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While remote employees are keeping many businesses afloat during this crisis, they’re also becoming liabilities to the same companies they’re working so hard to keep up and running. If businesses aren’t educating their employees on the growing number of COVID-19-related cybersecurity threats, they’ll be out of business before they know it.

Now, more than ever, you, your employees, and customers must stay vigilant. Cybercriminals are wreaking havoc during this pandemic. The rise of remote working has made it easier for hackers to target businesses when they’re the most vulnerable.

While there are numerous COVID-19-related cybersecurity threats targeting users today, there are several big ones you should pay close attention to if you want to successfully protect your business, employees, and customers during this crisis.

Spear-phishing attacks are on the rise

There's been a steady increase in the number of COVID-19-related spear-phishing attacks (these are mostly phishing emails targeting specific individuals) since January, according to researchers at Barracuda Networks, a security, networking and storage solutions provider. The company’s researchers found the following: Spear-phishing attacks have increased by 667 percent since the end of February. Cybercriminals are also exploiting flaws in products designed for remote workers.

Ransomware groups are looking for endpoint vulnerabilities to exploit

With many workers now working remotely, ransomware groups are actively scanning the internet for vulnerable endpoints (laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets servers, etc.). These cybercriminals look for vulnerabilities in virtual private network (VPN) products, which enable employees to access work servers when they’re not sitting at their office desks. Upon finding exposed endpoints, these hackers then distribute ransomware, which is designed to extract money from infected businesses. In some cases, ransomware attacks are exploiting the fears of online users.

Beware of what you download on your phone

While there’s a shortage of cleaning products at local grocery stores across the country, face masks are also in high demand (in some cases, people are even turning to homemade masks to protect themselves). Aware of this, hackers are doing what they can to take advantage of these challenges.

Even with cybersecurity experts on high alert during the COVID-19 outbreak, there’s bad news on the horizon for mobile users: The number of COVID-19-related apps infected by malware is continuing to rise.

For example, a new Android app offers users coronavirus safety masks but delivers malware instead. The SMS trojan collects the victim's contact list and sends SMS messages to spread itself. The app seems to be in the early stages of development, according to researchers at ThreatLabZ, the embedded research team at Zscaler, a cloud-based IT security company. Another COVID-19-related app snoops on its victims.

Without a doubt, the number of COVID-19-related cyberattacks is going to increase in the coming months. The best way for you to protect your business, employees, and customers during this crisis is by staying aware of how cybercriminals are attacking users.