While COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, is capturing attention around the world, cybercriminals are capitalizing on the public’s desire to learn more about the outbreak. There are reports of phishing scams that attempt to steal personal information or to infect your devices with malware, and ads that peddle false information or scam products.
In one example, a phishing email that used the logo of the CDC Health Alert Network claimed to provide a list of local active infections. Recipients were instructed to click on a link in the email to access the list. Next, recipients were asked to enter their email login credentials, which were then stolen.
What Should You Do?
- If you are looking for information on the coronavirus, visit known reputable websites like the U.S. Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization.
- Be on the lookout for phishing emails, which may appear to come from a trusted source. Remember, you can look at the sender’s details – specifically the part of the email address after the ‘@’ symbol – in the ‘From’ line to see if it looks legitimate.
- Be wary of emails or phone calls offering unexpected or unprompted information. Also be aware of emails from unfamiliar sources that contain links or attachments. Do not click on these links, as they could be embedded with malware.
- Although social media companies like Facebook are cracking down on ads spreading coronavirus conspiracies and fake cures, some ads may make it past their review process. Remember, it’s best to seek information on the disease from official sources like those mentioned above.
- If you’re interested, read this article on spotting and protecting yourself against phishing attacks.