Coronavirus creates single biggest email phishing scam opportunity in history.

Cyber attacks have increased exponentially since January 2020 amid pandemic chaos prompting the World Health Organization to make urgent warnings about cybersecurity and digital health information.

Google reports that cyber criminals are sending 18 million hoax emails about COVID-19 to Gmail users every day. That number makes the coronavirus the single biggest phishing subject ever, according to experts. Varying reports from cybersecurity firms claim increases in worldwide cyber attacks ranging from 33% to 667%.

Scammers are aggressively sending fake emails and SMS text messages regarding COVID-19 aiming to extract personal health information from victims and/or extort Economic Impact Payments. These messages are purportedly sent from the US government, the WHO, and the CDC. Businesses too are facing an onslaught of bogus PPP, EIDL, and EDD related messages coming from “official” sources threatening to delay or withhold funds until sensitive information is provided.

Ailing economy creates opportunity for exploitation

The US workforce managed a seemingly miraculous transition into remote work when stay-at-home orders were implemented throughout the country. Amid fears of the virus and looming economic uncertainty, businesses swiftly moved employees out of the office and into their homes in an attempt to maintain operations. This shift proved to be a challenge even for the most prepared firms. Yet, many rose to the occasion and succeeded.

For less nimble firms or those without adequate tech in place before the switch, it has, and still is a very different story. In the span of weeks, previously thriving businesses found themselves struggling to remain operational and unable to move forward. This scenario of struggle and confusion is one of opportunity in the eyes of cyber criminals seeking to capitalize on the crisis and hackers are using every opportunity to exploit businesses and employees who are not prepared for full-scale remote operation. Maintaining cybersecurity procedures that were standard in the office has become a challenge. 

Health information target of attack

Businesses of all sizes are experiencing the assault and government agencies are also in the sightline of hackers. In an unexpected announcement, the World Health Organization issued a warning urging the general public to be on the lookout for fraudulent emails after it became known that WHO was the target of a large-scale, albeit unsuccessful attack. It was an unusual technology related statement from the health-focused public agency. 

The statement also warned that scammers impersonating WHO in emails are actively targeting the general public in an attempt to channel donations into a fictitious fund and not the authentic COVID-19 Solidary Response Fund. WHO advises the public to remain vigilant against fraudulent emails seeking personal health information and recommends the use of reliable sources, not emails, to obtain factual information about COVID-19 and other health issues.  

Cyber Insurance adds a crucial layer of protection during times of escalated cyber threat.

It’s a type of business insurance that covers your business in the event of a hack, data breach, or system failure resulting in data loss or financial damages. Cyber attacks are a very real threat to any business that collects customer data and stores confidential information or medical data.

Unfortunately, savvy cyber criminals are slithering into inboxes everyday, and they are often successful in their schemes. Cybersecurity and antivirus software along with employee training are a firm’s first line of defense against hackers, but cyber insurance is the final security measure that will safeguard a business.

Visit us online or give us a call at (800) 590-7292 for more information about cybersecurity and cyber insurance.

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