Beware: Coronavirus-related emails may be phishing attempts

Apparently the challenges today with businesses struggling for life and people fighting to make ends meet amid these Coronavirus-related shutdowns are just not enough.

Bad actors are now trying to infect computers and networks with electronic viruses as well — and using the coronavirus fears to do it.

Seemingly operating on the infamous advice to “never let a crisis go to waste”, these entities are heavily leveraging the virus to spread malicious payloads to gain access to your systems.

Bad Guys Use Pandemic to Get Panic Responses

In a recent notice sent out by a network security awareness training partner, the company said it “spotted a new phishing email warning recipients they had been exposed to the Coronavirus through personal contact with a 'colleague/friend/family member’" 

The phishy email advised the recipient to download a malicious attachment and to immediately go to the hospital. The attachment an Excel file, a pre-filled form which readers were directed to bring with them to the hospital. 

Our partner said the email was “simple, succinct, and alarming. Moreover, it spoofs a hospital, lending additional credibility to this particular social engineering scheme” designed to bring a panicked response from recipients, preventing any careful analysis that may otherwise tip someone off.

According to ZDNet, these coronavirus-themed attacks take many forms, from fundraising schemes to supposed messages from the World Health Organization, and have been on the rise.

The article reported that at the end of last week, one security company reported more than a half million mal-intended messages sent — 300,000 bearing malicious links and 200,000 malicious attachments.

Beware & Prepare: Don't Let a Bad Situation Get Worse

Whether these schemes are meant to gain login info, to steal private information or to lock up essential files and hold them for ransom, as with a Cryptolocker ransomware-type schemes, these are potentially very damaging and costly to organizations.

According to this CNET article, ransomware shuts down one of every five businesses it strikes. The same article said as many as one-third of small to medium-sized businesses were hit by ransomware in 2016, largely due to network users falling for phishing schemes.

While antivirus software, network firewalls and data back-up and recovery systems are greatly helpful in protecting you and your organization from falling victim to one of these social engineering schemes, educating yourself and your network users is key to your protection.

Read our blog on how to spot a phishing email to begin that education on how to recognize a social engineering scheme.

And as for some other measures you can take to protect your business, here are some more tips to make your organization more network secure.

As we always say, forewarned is forearmed. Hopefully, this helps you avoid further difficulties and crisis during this already difficult time. 

Until COVID-19 and it’s repercussions play out, stay healthy, stay safe and stay network secure.

About R.K. Black, Inc.

R.K. Black, Inc. is an Oklahoma City-based, family-owned leading provider of office technology solutions to small and medium-sized businesses in Oklahoma and Kansas. We specialize in everything business technology from copier, fax, printer and scanner technology to document management, onsite paper shredding services, VoIP phone systems and managed IT support to video surveillance solutions.

If you want to learn more about us, feel free to explore the website, read our other blogs or click the button below to be contacted by one of our reps and tell you! Also, be sure to keep watching our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter for more business tips from our blog.