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While the world battles a global Coronavirus pandemic, there is a parallel battle going on digitally

Threatening misinformation is spreading almost as fast as the virus itself. And it's enabling dangerous attacks on your digital devices and personal information

According to a number of cybersecurity professionals, there’s been an uptick in attacks against an incredibly wide range of targets… a huge increase in hackers registering malicious coronavirus-related domains… and an increase in sales of discounted, off-the-shelf malware on the dark web.

LEGITIMATE SITES ARE BEING “FAKED”

One of the most high-profile recent attacks was aimed at a popular, interactive COVID-19 tracking map maintained by Johns Hopkins University.  Hackers are selling malware that compromises the map and infects users. The university is aware of the malware impersonation of its site, and warned users to only trust the maps at its own website.

Sadly, the John Hopkins fakes are just one of MANY recent attacks that deliver spam, steal credentials, and infect victims with malware. Digital hackers have been very quick to exploit an understandable desire for reliable information, amid widespread anxiety about the COVID-19 outbreak. Emilio Simoni, director of dfndr lab, a laboratory specializing in digital security at PSafe, notes that “Cybercriminals aim to profit from this global health crisis: by taking and/or ransoming victims’ personal data; by spreading internet scams; and by infecting victims with malicious malware downloads.”

UNPRECEDENTED CHANGE MEANS NEW DIGITAL THREATS

The Coronavirus pandemic has already changed normal daily life and the way business is getting done.  Because so many people are being asked to shelter-in-place and practice social-distancing, a much larger number of people are now working remotely, and spending even more time online.

Hackers have ramped up their activity to meet this moment.  Malicious actors have seized the opportunity to target victims with greater numbers of scams and malware campaigns.  Remote work vulnerabilities are being exploited, so organizations must minimize cybersecurity risks as best they can.

PROTECTING YOUR DIGITAL DEVICES

Most of us access the internet and social networks through our cell phones. For this reason, security experts recommend that you employ a dedicated solution that alert you in real time whenever you access a scam site, or interact with a known digital virus “vector.” dfndr Security has a robust Anti-Hacking capability you can activate if you have the app — and if you don’t have the app,  you can download the free version, right here. Upgrade to the dfndr Pro version if you want to get the Safe App Installer (which warns you if an app has malware). It also offers Identity Theft Protection to keep your email safe. 

Consider downloading dfndr Pro during this crisis to keep your digital devices and your information as safe as possible..

MORE WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF

The best ways to protect your personal (and business) cyber health are almost exactly the same as during “normal” times: 

  • Don’t click on any links from unknown people
  • Only download or install software from trusted sources — double check those url’s! 
  • To make these checks automatic, download dfndr and use its anti-hacking features: it will protect you from malware and known hacking sites. You can also use a link analyzer, like the free one dfndr offers, but having the app on your device makes this so MUCH easier!
  • Use reliable sources, such as legitimate government websites, for current, fact-based information regarding COVID-19

Information and prevention are the best weapons to fight the Coronavirus: 

It’s worth remembering that the simplest measures will be immensely powerful in this battle. Stay alert, stay calm, wash your hands as frequently as you can, and practice social distancing. It’s important to recognize that while you may not be in a high-risk group, and you may not feel ill yourself, you can still be a carrier of this virus.

Make sure you get your information from reliable sites and from people with credentialed expertise. If a message, inquiry, or offer feels fishy: it may well be a hacker. STEER CLEAR. At PSafe we’ll continue monitoring developments with Covid 19 and the digital scams, hacks, and viruses that are accompanying it.

Count on us to keep you informed and protected. We are with you in this fight!