COVID-19: Scammers Ramp Up Attacks on Remote Workers

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The coronavirus pandemic has rendered millions jobless, while others have been forced to work from home to limit the spread of the virus.

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However, this mandate also presents an opportunity for hackers who are looking to profit from other peoples’ hard work.

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Scammers Are Desperate and on the Loose

Recently, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a joint statement warning citizens that both private and government-backed hacking groups have been on the prowl.

The security agencies highlighted the consistent growth in phishing scams, ransomware attacks, and other coronavirus-themed attacks that are being deployed against individuals and business organizations. Microsoft even revealed that cyber-criminals had managed to send these coronavirus-themed scam emails to every country on the planet.

For now, the most prominent of these attacks appears to be phishing email scams, where the hackers send messages to their victims, claiming to be from the World Health Organization (WHO) or any other established health authority.

These emails often include malicious links that hide dangerous malware files that are activated once the emails are opened. Their mode of operation often differs, but the end goal is to cause financial strain on their victims.

They also pointed out that there’s been a rise in the number of attacks targeted at remote working tools and software. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which are used to mask a person’s real location, have been singled out as a particular target.

Given that many people have started working from home, tools like VPNs have become popular. However, some of these cyber-criminals have now started exploiting vulnerabilities in the networks to gain access to any computers that connect to them.

They could gain access to a victim’s personal and corporate files, as well as a wide array of confidential information, by breaching their home network — even if that’s done remotely.

Video Chat Sessions Could Be at Risk

VPNs aren’t the only tools targeted by malicious actors. Recently, there’s also been much attention placed on video calling applications.

With the move to remote work gaining more steam, one service that has gained tremendously is Zoom, a video chat service. Zoom has gained widespread popularity because of its ease of use. There’s also the Freemium package, which allows up to 100 group video chat participants on a chat.

Since the start of the pandemic, the firm has seen daily users skyrocket from 10 million to 200 million.

However, several reports have also come out torching the platform’s privacy features following multiple complaints of intruders breaking into video chats and disrupting meetings. In recent days, Yahoo! Finance reported that hackers had published hundreds of verified Zoom accounts on the Dark Web.

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Based in the United Kingdom, Jimmy is an economic researcher with outstanding hands-on and heads-on experience in Macroeconomic finance analysis, forecasting and planning. He has honed his skills, having worked cross-continental as a finance analyst, which gives him inter-cultural experience. He currently has a strong passion for blockchain regulation and macroeconomic trends as it allows him peek under the global bonnet to see how the world works.

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