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Calm and vigilant
Thursday, April 9, 2020
The number of scam emails and malicious programs exploiting the coronavirus outbreak is increasing as the number of infected people (and those who’ve died) grows.
But we need to consider something else.
We’ve already written about coronavirus scams and other topics criminals play on. By this we mean any publicised event or phenomenon that potential victims are interested in. Quite naturally, as soon as coronavirus became a major talking point, a huge volume of phishing scams appeared that specifically used the outbreak to capture people’s attention. And their coverage is very extensive. One out of ten Italian companies is reported to have received a “proposal” related to the coronavirus.
For example, the acute shortage of face masks expectedly resulted in a number of "special offers" from all sorts of "charities". And as panicking Europeans are stockpiling food and toilet paper and looking for medicines, an upsurge in scams offering miraculous healing potions is to be expected too.
Fraudsters and spammers who have users' personal data at their disposal will probably coordinate their efforts. Surely, many people have heard about phone calls that are supposedly from their bank. Data leaks never stop, and by now fraudsters have accumulated a huge stash of personal information. Unfortunately, in this situation scammers don't even need to forge their phone numbers. Addressing a person by their real name is enough. Their goals can vary—ranging from spreading panic to offering dubious goods and services.
And now here is that other thing that we need to consider. We all know how to recognise phishing emails and what we should do about them. But that may only be true under normal circumstances. Instead, we are all living in a stressful time. People are in a state of heightened anxiety and expect terrible news at any moment. Predictably, under the circumstances users will start opening phishing emails even if all the signs of a fraud scheme are quite apparent.
And one more thing. The elderly are most vulnerable in the face of the infection. And scammers are particularly “fond” of this very category of people. Older people are overly trustful, especially when the danger is real.
Despite all the security tips and guidance, many potential victims are likely to open bogus emails and answer unsolicited calls.
The Anti-virus Times recommends
- In a difficult situation like this, installing an anti-spam on desktops and mobile devices can be the most important security measure of all. Make sure that your parents and elderly relatives have anti-spam software installed on their devices too (and tell them about the fraud schemes).
- Enable your anti-virus's feature that will block access to fraudulent sites (in Dr.Web Security Space look for Dr.Web SpIDer Gate; in Dr.Web for Android, the URL-filter is the component you need to use). You can further enhance your protection from unwanted sites by using a parental control component. You can learn how to configure the corresponding Dr.Web component here:
Adopting all these measures is easy; a couple of simple clicks gets the job done, but they will protect your money and your health. Nerve cells are incapable of regeneration—don’t give these scammers a chance to cash in on the coronavirus and ruin us and those we hold dear.
We’re not making these recommendations to promote our anti-virus software; we are just trying to help people avoid panic.