An online pandemic also occurred during the COVID 19 crisis. Google, for instance, announced that it discovered more than 18 million daily malware and phishing emails just in one week. They came besides the 240 million spam messages related to the new coronavirus.
What is an online pandemic?
The insecurity and uncertainty this pandemic brought and the fact that lots of employees work from home, without the protection of a secured office network, made attackers smile. That’s because they discovered just a new opportunity to target mainly financial and personal information of the users.
Although the data might not be of direct interest for them, it is for the owners. So, this became the reason for which hackers set up an online pandemic. What they have been spreading malware and affect the computers around the world. Thus, users lose access to their data. In order to regain the access, they are usually asked to pay different amounts of money.
Individuals are at risk
When comes to individuals, hackers target those who might be able to pay important amounts of money. If it turns out that they can not, then attackers might try to take advantage of the information they gain to force victims collect the necessary money. Or, they could find another way to monetize their activity: sell the data they gathered or use the online banking credentials to steal the money. Either way, their purpose is to obtain as much money as possible.
But most of them are heading directly to successful companies, as they know there is sensitive data storaged and a lot of money ready to pay for it.
The banks became a target
Depending on the victim’s status, attackers may ask for a lot of money. Maybe that’s why researchers saw an unleashed wave of attacks after the pandemic outbreak. For instance, Finastra, a company that is providing technology solutions to banks worldwide, had to shut down its servers, in March. It happened due to a breach exploited by hackers.
Still, such things also happened before the current crisis. At the end of the last year, one of the biggest London-based foreign currency exchanges – Travelex, paid the ransom. And it was 2.3 million dollars, in order to regain access to its data, after an attack on New Year’s Eve.
Protect yourself from the online pandemic
The security specialists urge everybody to pay attention to all the online activities, especially during this time. Mainly, they say, that users need to check the links, before clicking, no matter it is a link in an email or an online ad. Also, no unsolicited email messages should be open. Still, if you can’t help it, the links should never be accessed and neither their attachments. Otherwise, victims might land on fake pages that mimic the legitimate ones. Then, any action is risky.