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article imageFraudsters are using coronavirus fears for phishing campaigns Special

By Tim Sandle     Feb 15, 2020 in Technology
There have been a number of recent instances where fraudsters are taking advantage of coronavirus fears in order to successfully conduct phishing attacks. Will LaSala of OneSpan tells Digital Journal how this happening.
Times of crisis are, unfortunately, moments when people are often most distracted or impressionable. One example is with the coronavirus Covid-19 that is causing a high number of infections worldwide, and has health services on high-alert. Here cybercriminals are seeking to exploit concerns about the spread of the biological virus by seeking to put cyber-viruses onto computer networks.
News about this nefarious activity has been called out by staff at IBM X-Force. Here researchers have tracked won numerous cyber-threat campaigns where hackers are pushing out infected email attachments disguised as instructions or health advice around the coronavirus.
When such files are opened, OneSpan reports, the malware will install an Emotet downloader in the background. The spam messages are mostly originating from Asia, and many are in Japanese.
Looking into this new form of phishing, Will LaSala, Senior Director of Global Solutions, Security Evangelist at OneSpan explains to Digital Journal: "Now is the time for banks and financial institutions to be on the lookout for coronavirus-related phishing attacks", adding that: "researchers are discovering hackers are already disguising malicious documents relating to coronavirus in their attacks."
However, avoiding such attacks is straightforward, provided appropriate measures are taken. LaSala recommends: "The first step is to be aware of the heightened risk at this time and deploy enhanced safety precautions. Banks and other financial institutions should adjust the rules engines on their fraud detection and prevention systems, monitor user behavior throughout the entire online banking session, and leverage machine learning and advanced risk analytics to identify abnormal user behavior in real time."
Care needs to be taken, LaSala warns, since "not all anti-fraud systems are equal – dynamic fraud solutions that are capable of automatically operating at a lower level of trust during times of increased risk are best suited to helping banks respond to the fast-paced nature of fraud during events like the coronavirus outbreak."
Jumping on the coronavirus bandwagon is part of a tactic deployed by hackers to prey on things in the public eye, LaSala explains: "Hackers will always prey upon fear to increase the impact of phishing campaigns, and risk analytics technologies are key for today’s banks to determine fraud risk in real-time for individual transactions – delivering a level of security beyond what manual processes can provide."
More about Cybersecurity, coronavirus, Covid19, Technology
 
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