Protecting Against the Emerging COVID-19 Phishing Email Threats

By: | Category: IT / Infrastructure

As a result of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the widespread discussion of the outbreak in emails and across the web. There continues to be a steady increase in the number of COVID-19-related spear-phishing attacks, up 667% since the end of February. In this post we offer tips that can help secure users against email fraud and attacks.

Phishing Related to Coronavirus

Coronavirus related attacks use common phishing tactics, but a growing number of phishing campaigns are using the epidemic as a lure to try to trick distracted users and capitalize on the fear and uncertainty of the intended victims.  The FBI recently issued an alert about these types of attacks.

While phishing emails leveraging coronavirus are new, the same precautions for email security still apply:

Email Security Protection Tips

  • Be aware of emails attempting to get you to open attachments or click links

Anti-malware/phishing solutions can prevent malicious emails from reaching intended recipients, but even when in place caution should always be used.

  • Be aware of emails claiming to be from a source you would not normally receive emails from

While receiving coronavirus-related emails from legitimate distribution lists to which you belong is becoming common, emails from organizations that you do not regularly receive messages from should be scrutinized.

  • Use caution when receiving emails from organizations you do regularly work with 

Brand impersonation is quite prevalent in coronavirus-related email fraud, so caution is needed when opening emails even from organizations you expect to hear from.

  • Source charities on your own and donate directly

A common tactic for coronavirus scams is asking for donations. Best practice is not to respond to email requests for donations. Instead, find credible charities helping with coronavirus efforts and donate directly. It’s also highly unlikely that any legitimate charities are taking donations through Bitcoin, so that should be a red flag as well.

For more information on protecting against phishing, ransomware and emerging COVID-19 email threats, access the recorded sessions and related posts below. To learn more about solutions that could help immediately, including Phishing Protection, Automated Incident Response, and Employee Security awareness, contact us to speak with a specialist.

Information Security Awareness – How to Avoid the Ransomware & Bitcoin Nightmare

Cybersecurity Strategies: Preventing, Detecting & Responding to a Digital Attack