COVID-19 PANDEMIC & CYBER CRIME IS ON THE RISE -By: Rahul

In today’s era, with a sizable population among the workforce working from home, And as we all know that currently, the whole world is dealing with the Corona crisis. The COVID-19 Pandemic is affecting the whole world at large scale and especially during this kind of crisis we have to maintain the social distance to protect ourselves without affecting our work at a large scale so relying on the internet is only the option we are left to continue with our daily works. Cybercriminals are taking great advantage of this situation. Since a large population is now under lockdown and working from homes. All the organisations and offices and institutions are being run from home and these are at high risk of being targeted.


India’s first Cyber Security Chief Lt Gen Rajesh Pant (retd) said in an interview that In the past two months almost 4000 fraud portals related to Corona Virus have been created across the globe by cybercriminals and other mafia organisations.”

According to government sources, even the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund’ (PM CARES Fund)’ set up was not spared by the cyber criminals and within a few hours of its announcement half a dozen similar-sounding malicious websites and fake UPI Ids were created in the name of PM cares fund for financial frauds.


Kinds of Scams during COVID-19


1) Fake Apps Promoting Coronavirus Cure


People are mostly influence on online channels to seek information about the cure of the pandemic. They are offering products that can prevent or cure coronavirus the website corona-antivirus.com have been found promoting an app—Corona Antivirus—this website claims that it can protect users from the Coronavirus. These kinds of websites and Apps are completely fake and one should avoid them. Because on the click it installs a spy software which can steal bank account details, passwords and personal data.


2) Cyber-attacks on Digital Apps and Healthcare Web Sites

Many organisations have allowed their staff to work from home to stop the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Online communication platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Teams for Education, Slack, and WebEx etc. are being used for remote meetings and webinars.

"Insecure usage of the platform (Zoom) may allow cyber criminals to access sensitive information such as meeting details and conversations. The CERT agency suggested some measures to increase the security of Zoom meetings which included that the app should be regularly updated and one should use strong and unique passwords for all meetings and webinars.

In August 2019 US-based cybersecurity firm Fire Eye said on that hackers broke into a leading India-based healthcare website, stealing 68 lakh records containing patient and doctor information. These cybercriminals mostly China-based are directly selling data stolen from healthcare organisations and web portals globally including in India in the underground markets.


SAFETY TIPS

To be safe from these kinds of cyber-crimes one should follow these guidelines-

Be cautious about sharing information: If you receive an unsolicited request for some kind of information, be cautious and take extra time to evaluate the message. Scammers ask you to share information like login information, bank details, and addresses, which is not required for a genuine helpline call.

Donate carefully: Fraudsters take advantage of goodwill and request donations for COVID-19 relief efforts. They also impersonate non-profit organisations to trick you into transferring money. To make a donation, you can directly visit the NGO’s website instead of clicking links sent to you.

Do not click random links: Google advises not to click on random links sent in an unsolicited email. Before clicking a hyperlink, users should hover over the link to see where it leads.

Report and block these kinds of website or you can raise complaints at the Home Ministry’s dedicated portal for any cybercrime (https://cybercrime.gov.in/)

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