BOOK AN APPOINTMENT WITH AN IT SPECIALIST TODAY

Coronavirus Spreads Computer Viruses as Hackers Target Businesses

Hackers Target Businesses Concerned Over COVID-19

Hackers are capitalizing on fear and concern related to coronavirus to launch ransomware and malware attacks. Here’s how to protect your business and employees.

As the COVID-19 spreads worldwide, hackers are taking advantage of an already stressed and strained healthcare system to attack vulnerable companies. Phishing attacks are on the rise worldwide, capitalizing on fear and a desire for information.

In many cases, hackers are sending emails purportedly from the World Health Organization or local hospitals. However, these emails contain ransomware and keystroke-logging malware.

Here’s the latest on coronavirus-themed attacks.

Coronavirus Hackers

What Is the Emotet Trojan Virus?

IBM recently warned of a spam issue targeting Japan. The messages contain Microsoft Word files that are full of macros. When opened, the macros infect uses with the Emotet Trojan. Once launched, the trojan can insert itself into email conversations. As the trojan propagates, the malware lets hackers steal information and embed malware onto users’ machines.

Japan is particularly vulnerable, not only due to the coronavirus but also the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, which are under threat of cancelation. One message translation warns of the coronavirus’ spread to areas of Japan, urging readers to open the attached notice.

A similar campaign has targeted Italian companies with a phishing campaign. It purports to be a notice from the World Health Organization with precautions to take to prevent the virus from spreading.

It contains a malicious Word document asking users to click on an “Enable Editing” button then an “Enable Content” button to see all the information. Users doing so, however, download the Ostap Trojan-Downloader. It contains the Trickbot downloader that is a customizable, frequently updated tool popular with hackers.

How Are Hackers Exploiting the Coronavirus?

As the number of news sites covering the coronavirus has grown, so too have the number of registered domain names related to the virus. According to one analysis, since January 2020, more than 4,000 domains have been registered globally related to the coronavirus. Three percent are considered malicious and another 5 percent deemed malicious, making coronavirus-themed domains 50 percent more likely to be dangerous than others registered in the same timeframe.

The World Health Organization has issued a warning about the daily reports it’s receiving about phishing attempts. However, hackers are smartly creating emails that look as though they’re coming from official sources, leading more users to open the emails and download files. Hackers can scrape information from official websites to create email templates that seem legit.

“National emergencies and/or disasters add a fear factor that acts as one more hook for hackers to get what they need,” said Ron Culler, ADT Cybersecurity’s senior director of technology and solutions, in a recent Vox article. “When fear is added to any targeted campaign — be it a legitimate or scam campaign — the effectiveness of that campaign is increased.”

How Can We Prevent Phishing Attacks?

Businesses can take several steps to educate employees and protect against these attacks. A layered approach to cybersecurity is a prudent way to reduce the risk of attacks from various vectors. Here are some tips:

  • Educate users about the prevalence of coronavirus-related phishing schemes, advise them to be cautious and show them how to detect suspect emails (look for spelling and grammar errors, check the sender’s email address)
  • Ensure that hardware and software are patched and updated promptly, ideally with automated update tools
  • Use and update endpoint anti-virus, anti-phishing, anti-spam and anti-malware tools
  • Have an incident response plan in place to ensure teams can respond quickly in the event of a ransomware or malware attack
  • Update endpoint detection tools such as firewalls and other system monitoring and alert solutions
  • Consider segregating networks to reduce the impact of self-propagating malware
  • Use email security tools that inspect attachments and disable the running of macros on attachments
  • Update blacklists of malicious IP addresses and compromised websites
  • Use content filters to block access to inappropriate and dangerous websites
  • Review access restrictions to limit the spread of malware throughout systems

Businesses must now address coronavirus-related issues both from an employee safety standpoint and a cybersecurity perspective. For assistance in protecting your business from coronavirus cyberattacks, contact your managed services provider today.

More Like This

The Need for Your Business to Set Up Network Security Is Urgent

The Need for Your Business to Set Up Network Security Is Urgent In the early 20th century, if a crook wanted money, they’d rob a bank or steal a woman’s purse on the street. Real masterminds might devise an elaborate heist to hold up a Brink’s truck or befriend a millionaire, then make off with …

The Need for Your Business to Set Up Network Security Is Urgent Read More »

Read More

AA21-062A: Mitigate Microsoft Exchange Server Vulnerabilities

Original release date: March 3, 2021 Summary Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security (CISA) partners have observed active exploitation of vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server products. Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities allows an unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code on vulnerable Exchange Servers, enabling the attacker to gain persistent system access, as well as access to files …

AA21-062A: Mitigate Microsoft Exchange Server Vulnerabilities Read More »

Read More

How Microsoft Dataverse Helps Your Organization Store and Manage App Data Securely

How Microsoft Dataverse Helps Your Organization Store and Manage App Data Securely Microsoft Dataverse is a software as a service (SaaS) solution capable of resolving wide-ranging data management and businesses’ storage issues. As an ever-increasing number of organizations generate a large amount of data, there is a need to manage it securely and efficiently. Thus, …

How Microsoft Dataverse Helps Your Organization Store and Manage App Data Securely Read More »

Read More

AA21-055A: Exploitation of Accellion File Transfer Appliance

Original release date: February 24, 2021 Summary This joint advisory is the result of a collaborative effort by the cybersecurity authorities of Australia,[1] New Zealand,[2] Singapore,[3] the United Kingdom,[4] and the United States.[5][6] These authorities are aware of cyber actors exploiting vulnerabilities in Accellion File Transfer Appliance (FTA).[7] This activity has impacted organizations globally, including …

AA21-055A: Exploitation of Accellion File Transfer Appliance Read More »

Read More

AA21-048A: AppleJeus: Analysis of North Korea’s Cryptocurrency Malware

Original release date: February 17, 2021 Summary This Advisory uses the MITRE Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge (ATT&CK®) framework. See the ATT&CK for Enterprise for all referenced threat actor tactics and techniques. This joint advisory is the result of analytic efforts among the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency …

AA21-048A: AppleJeus: Analysis of North Korea’s Cryptocurrency Malware Read More »

Read More

How IT Consulting Companies Can Help Overcome Technology Challenges

How IT Consulting Companies Can Help Overcome Technology Challenges Information technology helps businesses of varying sizes to enhance operations and thrive. To maximize the benefits of technology, businesses often enlist the help of established IT consulting companies. With the assistance of highly skilled consultants, organizations empower themselves with the right tools to bolster innovation and overcome …

How IT Consulting Companies Can Help Overcome Technology Challenges Read More »

Read More