Coronavirus scams abound

1 April 2020 Security Services & Risk Management

Disturbingly, hackers are active even during times of global disaster, as evidenced in the various cyber-scams doing the rounds in the recent weeks.

Andre Kannemeyer.

“We urge all consumers and businesses to be aware of these pervading scams and to take immediate reactive and preventative action,” says Andre Kannemeyer, chief technical officer at Duxbury Networking.

1. Coronavirus phishing. Beware of emails, SMSes or WhatsApp messages from unknown sources with information on coronavirus. Often hackers impersonate legitimate organisations and people to trick you into clicking links, sharing personal data, and even sending money to their ‘worthy’ cause. If you don’t know and trust the source, do not click it, do not share it and do not reply to it. Always look at the email address used to send the email (it is often a dead giveaway) and not just the displayed name.

2. Home delivery phishing. With many people ordering essential items online, hackers are impersonating delivery services. Their goal is to trick consumers into clicking malicious links or conning you into paying extra ‘delivery fees’. Stay vigilant, even if you are expecting a delivery. Furthermore, treat SMSes from delivery companies (legitimate or not) as a notification and never as a link to follow.

3. Extortion emails. Using extortion emails, hackers threaten to infect your family with coronavirus unless you pay them. Often, these threats include a small piece of information about you that makes the message seem more believable. Do not send money. Do not reply. And most importantly, do not worry – these are blatant lies.

“While this is not true of all messages sent by hackers, one can often determine by the poor grammar and spelling used, that a message may not be legitimate. While it can be a minefield as we negotiate our way through this new reality, common sense should prevail. Deploying a good cybersecurity solution like Sophos will give users the extra edge in the ongoing battle against hacker attacks,” says Kannemeyer.


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