4 hacker attacks in the global pandemic

man in hooodie - Realize Information Technology

A hacker can’t get you to click the link he sent to you if he looks like a hacker. So, he may look like Microsoft. Or, he may look like Zoom. These are hacker attacks during the global pandemic.

Then you or a coworker click a malicious link. That’s when the trouble begins. How to stop that from happening? By being on the lookout for red flags!

TheVerge.com reported in early May about a rise in impersonation attempts. Crooks have even built entire websites as part of their scams.

… potentially tricking people into downloading malware …

“Hackers have registered domains posing as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet-related URLs,” the publication said. “As significantly more people are using these videoconferencing services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the domains could be used to pose as official links, potentially tricking people into downloading malware or accidentally giving a bad actor access to personal information.”

Exploiting ways we meet

Check Point Research, quoted in the Verge article, revealed details about how the scam is carried out.

“And Zoom isn’t the only platform cyber criminals are impersonating – both Microsoft Teams and Google Meet have been used to lure victims too. Recently, victims fell prey to phishing emails that came with the subject ‘You have been added to a team in Microsoft Teams.’ The emails contained a malicious URL ‘http://login\.microsoftonline.com-common-oauth2-eezylnrb\.medyacam\.com/common/oauth2/’ and victims ended up downloading malware when clicking on the “Open Microsoft Teams” icon that led to this URL. The actual link for Microsoft Teams is ‘https://teams.microsoft.com/l/team’.”

1 Zoom meeting software has been a popular choice during the pandemic. Both businesses and families are looking for ways to talk to each other and see one another in real time. Of course, the hackers know that. So they often target Zoom meetings.

2 Microsoft Teams is a higher-security meeting option with an established user base in the world of business. Check with a trained technologist to learn if your business is protected.

3 Google Meet-related URLs are also a target for hackers wanting to disrupt normal activities or steal information from the public. Your business may need to consult experienced technicians to audit your digital security.

4 Posing as official health and safety agencies. Hackers have also pretended they are the World Health Organization. They have been distributing fake emails that look official, and inviting the unwary to “Download attachment” or “Click here.”

 

Fake WHO email - Realize Information Technology

 

Adding to the suffering

Stop hacker attacks in the global pandemic

An uptick in malice is part of the hazards during this global pandemic, according to U.S. law enforcement.

“As the United States and the world deal with the ongoing pandemic, the FBI’s national security and criminal investigative work continues,” according the FBI website. “There are threats you should be aware of so you can take steps to protect yourself. Children who are home from school and spending more time online may be at increased risk for exploitation. Anyone can be targeted by hackers and scammers. Protecting civil rights and investigating hate crimes remain a high priority for the FBI.”

Check Point Research is warning the public to detect this kind of “phishing” attack that seems to come from a familiar brand. They offered “five golden rules” to the public:

  1. Beware of lookalike domains, spelling errors in emails or websites, and unfamiliar email senders.
  2. Be cautious with files received via email from unknown senders, especially if they prompt for a certain action you would not usually do.
  3. Ensure you are ordering goods from an authentic source. One way to do this is to NOT click on promotional links in emails, and instead, Google your desired retailer and click the link from the Google results page.
  4. Beware of “special” offers. “An exclusive cure for coronavirus for $150” is usually not a reliable or trustworthy purchase opportunity. At this point of time there is no cure for the coronavirus and even if there was, it definitely would not be offered to you via an email.
  5. Make sure you do not reuse passwords between different applications and accounts.

 

 
 
 

Photo man in hoodie by Setyaki Irham on Unsplash
Image of Fake WHO email courtesy Malwarebytes Inc