Coronavirus Phishing Scams are On the Rise - Is Your Business Email at Risk of Infection?
- by Brittany Day
With the dreaded coronavirus rapidly spreading worldwide, staying healthy is unfortunately not the only task demanding your concern. Securing your business email against phishing and fraud is more critical than ever, as cybercriminals are taking advantage of this fearful situation to gain access to sensitive information, infect computer systems with malware and viruses and, in many cases, steal significant amounts of money with deceptive phishing scams.
These scams prey on fear and appear to be from either public institutions or business partners. They exploit the lack of information and conflicting claims surrounding the recent epidemic. Coronavirus-related attacks can contain various different malware variants and typically employ creative and sophisticated social engineering tactics, making them difficult to detect. Guardian Digital CEO Dave Wreski explains, “Phishing is a highly effective tactic in desperate times, as most municipal authorities and companies rely heavily on email to communicate policies, updates and critical information. Cybercriminals recognize and exploit this. Email users need to be especially aware of fraud - taking time to think before clicking on a link or downloading an attachment is more important now than ever.”
One notorious campaign claims to provide a list of “local active infections” of the coronavirus. It includes the logo of the Center for Disease Control Health Alert Newark. When recipients click on a link within the email, they are asked to enter their email login credentials - which then end up in the hands of the threat actors and can be used in account takeovers and dangerous future attacks.
A similar scam claims to offer advice on “how to prevent the spread of influenza”. When victims click on the attached Microsoft Office document, Gandcrab ransomware is downloaded and installed, encrypting the files on the target’s computer.
How to Recognize and Protect Against Email Fraud
Phishing and email fraud are serious threats that all email users face daily. The digital threat landscape is constantly evolving, and modern attacks are more sophisticated and targeted than ever, carrying serious consequences for victims. A successful attack can result in significant downtime, hefty recovery costs and a severely tainted reputation.
While advanced attacks can be very difficult to detect, there are various indications of email fraud that users should be aware of. Tips for recognizing and protecting against fraud include:
- Check for spelling and grammatical errors which can indicate that an email is fraudulent or malicious. Also, keep an eye out for suspicious subject lines and signatures.
- Verify shared links to ensure that they do not lead to fraudulent websites or malicious code.
- Scan all attachments for viruses or malware.
- If an email looks suspicious in any way, make a phone call to the sender to confirm the legitimacy of the email.
- Use strong passwords to protect your accounts. Utilize two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) whenever possible.
- Subscribe to Guardian Digital’s Behind the Shield newsletter - if you haven’t already - to stay informed on the latest email-borne threats and trends and receive tips on how to secure your email.
- Take time to stop and think things through! Thoroughly evaluate each email you receive before clicking on links or downloading attachments.
- Make sure that you have a comprehensive, well-regarded business email security solution in place. Implementing an effective, multi-layered solution is the single best way to safeguard your email from advanced modern attacks.
How to Protect Against Coronavirus-Related Exploits
When it comes to staying safe in the midst of this recent outbreak, email security should undoubtedly be in the forefront of your mind - along with frequent handwashing! Luckily, there are various best practices that users can engage in to avoid falling for coronavirus-related phishing scams. They include:
- Be wary of emails claiming to come from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO). Remember that health agencies are not sending emails about the coronavirus. In order to get updates and information, you must visit these organizations’ websites or your state or local health department.
- Be suspicious of suggested “miracle cures” - there's no cure for the coronavirus at this point, so anyone claiming to have vaccinations or other treatments for the virus should be ignored.
- Do your research before purchasing a product or donating to a charity.
Guardian Digital EnGarde Cloud Email Security: Peace of Mind through Fully-Managed Business Email Vigilance
When it comes to securing business email accounts against persistent, targeted threats such as phishing, impersonation and fraud, not all solutions are able to keep pace with cybercriminals’ increasingly sophisticated and deceptive attacks. Many out-of-the-box solutions fail to address businesses’ individual needs, and don’t offer adequate customer support.
Guardian Digital Cloud Email Security eliminates these common and problematic shortcomings. Guardian Digital takes the time to build a strong relationship with each customer, learning about businesses’ key assets, mail patterns and methods of operation - valuable information that can be used to provide superior protection.
EnGarde Cloud Email Security offers threat-ready, fully-managed defense against the most targeted and sophisticated phishing campaigns. Key features and benefits of EnGarde’s phishing protection include:
- Advanced defenses against social engineering and impersonation attacks using state-of-the-art intelligence techniques to detect threats in real-time
- Neutralizes threats associated with malicious attachments and links using next-generation URL filtering and scanning of broad file types including RTF files, Batch files, and VBS files
- Email encryption and sender authentication protocols detect fake From addresses and block them automatically
- Tighter security, adaptive implementation and eliminated risk of vendor lock-in through the use of a transparent, collaborative development approach
- Scalable cloud-based system simplifies deployment and increases availability
- Expert, caring around-the-clock customer support services
Interested in learning more about how Guardian Digital EnGarde Cloud Email Security could help you rest easy in this time of fear? Speak with a security expert today.
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