Cyber ​​attacks by email and WhatsApp grow due to coronavirus




Cyber ​​criminals are often one step ahead of everyone. They take advantage of popular events and social trends to commit their outrages. In the last two days, two waves of cyberattacks have been detected, taking advantage of the crisis in Covid-19 coronavirus. One of them affects the users of the messaging application WhatsApp.

An investigation by the security firm Panda has discovered an exponential increase in the last 48 hours of cyber attacks that take advantage of moments of uncertainty to try to steal personal data from users. One of the detected waves uses “relatively obsolete” techniques – experts say – to hijack the computers of small and autonomous companies by means of emails. The second is to steal personal and bank data from ordinary citizens through tricks perpetrated from WhatsApp.

Experts acknowledge that cybercriminals employ well-known techniques that, despite everything, remain effective against victims. Instead of using sophisticated methods, they have multiplied the number of emails sent with malware to corporate email addresses. “Perhaps because of this, it is easier to fall into their traps,” he points out in a release Hervé Lambert, responsible for Panda Security operations.

The seriousness of this wave is due to the fact that fraudulent emails deal with defaults and debts. These are two topics that generate great pressure on the self-employed group, since many face financial difficulties derived from the coronavirus crisis. The investigation shows that the majority of the messages sent are “phishing” or identity theft emails with which, allegedly, there is a default, alerting the recipients. «Cyber ​​criminals are aware that SMEs are being one of the sectors that is suffering the most the economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis, as many are facing a serious liquidity problem right now, “he adds.

The report stresses that there have been “thousands of emails aimed at scamming SMEs and freelancers” threatening them with the suspension of web page hosting services and your business email. The technique, although classic, is still effective: the emails that have been detected in this wave of “phishing” are supplanted to the “webmaster” of the company in question and lead to the subject “Your account suspension due to excess spam”.

The message indicates that you have to click on a link to solve a problem. Once the website is accessed, the criminals ask to their victims all their personal and bank details, leaving the receivers “sold”. “It is important to take all possible precautions during the days of confinement, because cybercriminals are taking advantage of the anguish of millions of people, to make an execrable August at the expense of the coronavirus,” Lambert acknowledges.

Another technique that has grown recently during the pandemic is the sending of “malware” through applications such as WhatsApp, the most widely used messaging service in Spain. Thus, the experts assure that cybercriminals send indiscriminate emails inviting them to download “apps”, mostly for Android devices, which supposedly serve to monitor the coronavirus.

These are «apps», supposedly developed by a large banking entity whose supposed value for the user is a real-time map with the evolution of the disease and its affected. However, downloading the “app” installs a malicious code file (“malware”) on your mobile or tablet that “puts all your security in check.”

In turn, experts acknowledge that there is also a high number of accesses to a “phishing” website in which the Netflix identity is being supplanted to steal personal and bank data. Specifically, cybercriminals use a link that is being broadcast on WhatsApp in which the streaming video platform is allegedly giving away a free subscription to help families better manage the confinement caused by Covid-19.


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