Coronavirus Scams and Cyber Security Threats You Need to Know About
The Covid-19 crisis is putting a major strain on UK businesses and individuals. However, it’s not just the lockdown that is impacting people’s finances. Online, Coronavirus scams are becoming more pervasive by the hour.
In April, the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) was successful in uncovering over 2,000 online Coronavirus scams. Here, we’ll look at some of the most common. More importantly, we’ll look at how you can stay safe online.
What Coronavirus Scams Should You be Looking Out For?
Are you someone in a high-risk group who might struggle to recover from the Coronavirus? If so, you have likely spent a lot of time online recently, researching the best prevention methods.
Sadly, if you are spending a lot of time online looking for things like Coronaviris face masks, you are at a high risk of falling victim to Covid-19 scams.
- In April, the NCSC shut down 471 fake online stores claiming to have stocks of PPE equipment.
- As well as siphoning money from unwitting customer bank accounts, many Coronavirus stores go to lengths to harvest sensitive personal information.
- Some fake Coronavirus stores currently online attempt to inject malware onto users’ PCs and mobile devices.
As a rule, the easiest way to prevent falling victim to scammers running fake Coronavirus stores is to only shop online at reputable retailers.
Beware of Scams That Target Your Email Inbox
At the start of the Coronavirus crisis, many UK businesses sent out updates via email. Typically, these updates let customers know about changes to store opening times, etc.
Sadly, Coronavirus scam merchants have since taken advantage of the fact that most people now always open emails with Coronavirus subject lines. As a result, Google alone is currently blocking over 18-million Covid-19 scam emails every day.
- Coronavirus scam emails often offer recipients special offers at big retailers like Tesco, as part of sophisticated phishing attempts.
- Some more sinister emails claim to be from the WHO, NHS, and charities supporting Covid-19 victims.
- As well as emails, some scammers have begun sending texts claiming to be from NHS officials.
In every case, recipients of suspicious emails or texts should report these to email providers and phone carriers. More importantly, you should make sure to never follow links in emails or texts that take you to websites asking you to sign up with them or enter personal information. Additionally, if you would like further peace of mind, you should always consult a trusted service provider.
Stay Safe From Coronavirus Ransomware
For the most part, avoiding falling victim to email scams is easy. All that it is necessary for you to do is stay vigilant. Sadly, steering clear of some other Coronavirus scams can be a little trickier.
As a result of Coronavirus news and tracking apps becoming popular, scammers online have begun distributing Covid-19 ransomware. This is software that locks user devices until a ransom fee is paid.
- To prevent Coronavirus ransomware attacks, never download free booklets, advice guides, or Coronavirus apps from unfamiliar websites.
- Once ransomware infects a device, it is impossible to remove without wiping disks or performing a master reset. This being the case, make sure to regularly back up any important data on your device.
- If you fall victim to a ransomware attack, don’t pay attackers. Doing so only makes it more likely that they will target you again in the future.
Stay Safe From Coronavirus Scams by Being More Security Aware
Coronavirus scams online look set to be with us for as long as Covid-19 itself is still with us. However, being more security-aware can reduce your chances of falling victim to scams.
If in doubt, don’t open suspicious emails or visit websites you are not familiar with. More importantly, make sure to keep your device OS and anti-virus up to date. This will help prevent even the most malicious forms of Coronavirus ransomware.
If you suspect you have fallen victim to a Coronavirus scam, contact us today to understand how you can minimise the impact to your business.