Understanding COVID-19 and How It Has Become “Hacker’s Heaven”

Image credit: digit.fyi
Image credit: digit.fyi

We welcomed the year 2020 with COVID-19, Coronavirus. Much has happened globally due this deadly virus, many have died and many nations have locked themselves down. But what’s more sad than that?

We’re in the digital age where most systems are virtually accessible to hackers and sadly, coronavirus has become a money making situation for most hackers around the world.

First let’s briefly understand what exactly COVID-19 is :

The COVID-19 is a category of the Coronavirus family that is transmitted between humans through our 3 primary senses – Nose, Mouth and Eyes. The virus can be spread by simply breathing the air that may have been infected by sneezing or coughing.

Coronavirus was initially found in animals and later transmitted to humans, to a point where due to its rapid geographical spread the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a “Global pandemic”, on March 11th 2020.

Now let’s understand how hackers are using the pandemic to their advantage :

Hackers have been a pain in the neck for governments globally and this time they seem to have found a way to use COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage. Researchers have found traces of more than 4000 domains globally, related to coronavirus.

But hang on.. Not all domains were intended for bad purposes. Around 5% of 4000 coronavirus related domains could be malicious and an additional 5% are suspicious domains.

Now considering the severity of the pandemic, it’s safe to assume that the above mentioned figures (total 10% domains) could do significant damage to the society and put many people’s personal information at global risk.

This is greatly possible based on the research, many domains are created to design pandemic-specific emails and create urgency in people to follow the “click funnel”, leading them to compromise their personal information in hopes of seeking assistance.

Let’s not forget how hackers used a Microsoft Word Document embedded with a link to the WHO website and encouraged visitors to click and submit personal information.

There are apps that users can download on their devices that displays a map of COVID-19 that is spreading around the world. Once the users are logged in, it then allows the hackers to send a malicious download to their device.

Evil right? Well, in this sensitive time, it’s our responsibility to stay safe and alert about what’s happening around us. We need to trust the authorities and consult the right people before panicking and giving away our information on any digital platform.

Cyware.com reported in their article, “U.S. officials have accused Russia of propagating misinformation about the coronavirus in a coordinated campaign. Thousands of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts —most of them tied to Russia—spurred nearly identical messages in different languages including English, German, and French, blaming the US for the outbreak.