Threat Actors use COVID-19 to Spread Fear, Misinformation and Malware

01/04/2020 16:37:11
Our e-mail inboxes are currently being assaulted by COVID-19 response material - with messages from your bank, your credit card company, your local pet adoption agencies, that wing place you visited in San Francisco and from the place you volunteered in high school because you were 1 credit short in extracurriculars. Everyone is using this moment in time to reach out and remind you that they are there, and if you have any extra liquid assets burning a hole in your home-bound pocket, that’s all the better.  There is also no shortage of “fake” news alerting us to alien invasions, deportations and mass graves in Manhattan.

And while we know we aren’t interested in hearing how Applebee’s is responding to the COVID-19 crisis or how a new app can help you lose weight without moving from the couch, we are still quarantined, sheltering in place, isolated and bored. We are all bored, including your average scammer or hacker who is, him or herself, sheltering in place and wondering who is going to be bored enough to click their malicious link? Lots of people, it turns out. Watch out for a few things as you isolate yourself and happy browsing!

1. Phishing scams masquerading as company procedures, HR policy changes or mandatory password change directives from the IT department.
2. Malware disguised as public health information.
3. COVID-19 infection maps with a payload preloaded kicker.
4. Fake government advisory spear-phishing campaigns offering health and safety information or “confirming” PII to ensure the receipt of any kind of stimulus or bail-out type payment.

Robocall and smishing (text message phishing) asking for updated account information or updated password and PII information.

While those self-isolating at home are under attack, essential businesses like hospitals, F&B and medical supply companies are also at significant risk. Hospitals have been targeted recently using ransomware and malware, often infiltrating through insecure WIFI connections and irresponsible guest and patient activity. Supply chains have been targeted lately for everything from personal and company information to the potential diversion and theft of medical supplies. Hacktivism has also experienced a resurgence as hackers take advantage of more lax security trends to put their opinions out to the global audience.

Sangfor would like to remind our readers to be extra vigilant in the upcoming months. Do not click on links or attachments from untrusted and unverified senders. Check E-mail addresses and IP addresses for misspellings or punctuation that might indicate threat. Minimize your use of unprotected public WIFI. Seek out the information you need from trusted websites. Be warry of sudden company policy changes that require you to give out PII.

Why Sangfor?
Our thoughts are with you all – and our resources are with you as well, to help keep you secure through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

Sangfor Technologies is an APAC-based, global leading vendor of IT infrastructure solutions specializing in Network Security and Cloud Computing. Visit us at to learn more about Sangfor’s network security options, and let Sangfor make your IT simpler, more secure and more valuable.

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