Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Phishing scams and malware attacks go up during Covid

 

 With the onset of Covid-19, and all the restrictions brought upon us and the retail industry, a lot of people are turning to online shopping and banking, etc.  With all this influx of activity, comes a new trove of information available to hackers and scammers. Now, not every individual gets hacked, what these people target, are the shops and information servers.  The places where your information is stored, your credit card info, bank info, all that fun stuff that is easy to sell on the dark web.

A lot of this info is obtained via phishing. This can include fake emails, texts, and even phone calls. Emails are the most common phishing technique, as fake websites, emails, etc are quite simple to set up. Below is an example of a phishing email, that a lot of people get, because most of us have a lot of passwords and they use this technique believing the majority of us will fall for it. (as most people don't keep track of a ton of passwords)

 
The picture below, is a fake site that you would most likely see, upon clicking one of those phishing emails.  If you don't pay close attention to details, anyone can fall for these. Always check spelling and where those email link too! Some of the time as well, as soon as you arrive at these sites, there is a possibility of malware already being installed.
 

 A good preventative is to run a weekly (if not daily) virus/malware scan on your system to help prevent these issues. That and simple preventative habits can help with it all.  If you don't recognize an email address - Don't open it! , if you don't recognize a website - close it! and Do NOT click on any links on the site! If you get any pop-ups for a download, etc, DO NOT accept it!

Phishing techniques go much further into detail, that novice users don't anticipate. For instance; once a hacker has obtained someones email address or other credentials, they can simply look through you facebook profile to obtain your address, pet's name, family names, etc that a lot of people use as passwords. They then simply run some software programs that target a number of common websites, like ebay, amazon, etc. that spam these names, address', birth-dates until a hit is found. Then they will usually change your password so that they retain access. Then they will move on to other websites and try those same credentials, which if you re-use passwords, they will hit again, and again, and again.

This is where password managers come in extremely handy! There are many out there that are very good, either free or paid options, depending on your needs.  Here is a great list by PCmag listing the top 10 password managers - Top 10 password managers.
 
Here is a link to another great article regarding scams during Covid from the HackerNews.  An excellent site to get more in depth on scamming and hacking related information.

Stay safe!

Sevenowl.




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