Cybercriminals Are Taking Advantage of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Cybercriminals Are Taking Advantage of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Don’t expect cybercriminals to let a global pandemic go to waste. According to cybersecurity expert and Blackstone Law Group attorney Alexander Urbelis, thousands of coronavirus-themed websites are being created on a daily basis, many with malicious intent.

Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) came under cyberattack in mid-March 2020. Urbelis noticed suspicious activity regarding the WHO around March 13 with the activation of a malicious website that mimicked the WHO’s email system. WHO Chief Information Security Officer Flavio Aggio told Reuters the site was used to attempt to steal passwords from multiple WHO employees.

“There has been a big increase in the targeting of the WHO and other cybersecurity incidents,” Aggio told Reuters.“There are no hard numbers, but such compromise attempts against us and the use of (WHO) impersonations to target others have more than doubled.”

Per the Reuters report, two additional sources suspected the DarkHotel hacker group in the attempt.

The HHS incident occurred on March 15 and involved a DDoS attack that caused what HHS spokesperson Caitlin B. Oakley described to Recode as a “significant increase in activity on HHS cyberinfrastructure.” According to reports on the attack, no data was accessed and HHS’ cyberinfrastructure remained fully operational.

Beyond threats to global organization’s websites and government cyberinfrastructure, Reason Labs reported cybersecurity researcher Shai Alfasi found and analyzed new malware disguised as a “coronavirus map.” The malware uses coronavirus map apps to steal personal data such as names, passwords, credit card numbers and sensitive data stored in users’ browsers.

While threats like coronavirus map malware are opportunistic and taking advantage of the fear, uncertainty and interest in the ongoing global pandemic, the attacks on WHO and HHS are part of a longer-term trend in cyberattacks on health services organizations.

Keeper’s 2019 Global State of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium-Sized Businesses report, conducted by the Ponemon Institute, found data breaches in healthcare data breaches in healthcare resulted in an average of 7,202 patient and employee records lost or stolen and came with an average price tag of $1.8 million from the disruption of normal operations. The three most commonly reported types of attacks were phishing (68%), malware (41%) and web-based (40%).

“Electronic health records are some of the most lucrative documents on the dark web, so it’s not surprising that the healthcare industry is highly-targeted by cybercriminals,” said Darren Guccione, CEO and Co-founder of Keeper.

What can be done to remain safe against cybercriminals during these unprecedented times? More than ever, it’s important to stay vigilant against threats like phishing attempts, malicious websites and apps, and ransomware. Because people are working from home who don’t typically work remotely it is important they understand security awareness and protecting company information, and that they are provided solid tech and security support.

And remember that Keeper is an essential element in any remote work tech stack. Keeper allows employees to easily and securely access their work accounts and apps and share data with co-workers from any location and on any device.