Data Facts Lending Solutions Blog

Think Before You Click: Hackers Preying on COVID-19 Fears

by Matt Holmes

Mar 30, 2020 9:02:00 AM


Regardless of the circumstances, it’s important never to let your guard down when it comes to data security, even at a time of crisis like we’re experiencing today. There’s another virus circulating the globe right now, and it may not be the type you’re thinking of.

According to Business Insider, hackers have been capitalizing on the COVID-19 hysteria to infect victims’ computers with malware through phishing emails. These emails purportedly contain fake maps tracking the spread of the virus, and will infect the victim’s computer when opened.

Throughout the outbreak, Americans have looked to online maps to follow the spread, and to see how the pandemic has impacted locations around the globe. This hunger for information is well-warranted, but has caused many of us to lower our guard against cyber-criminals.

Earlier this month, hackers impersonated a Johns Hopkins site which has mapping data on the virus. Johns Hopkins spokeswoman Jill Rosen said that the university is aware of the matter and warned that users should only trust maps that are generated using ArcGIS.

According to Check Point Software Technologies, Coronavirus-themed domains are 50% more likely to contain fraudulent material.

Just like washing your hands to avoid germs, practicing cyber-hygiene is critical. As members of the lending community, we’re under greater pressure to safeguard our data, as well as the data of the consumers we serve. Here are a few characteristics that could help you spot a phishing email:

Asking for Personal Information- Organizations typically do not email you for personal data like address, phone number, ID or PIN’s.

Inconsistencies in Links- Always hover over links to display the full URL. If it leads to somewhere that doesn’t make sense given the context, don’t click!

Generic Greetings- Unlike legitimate emails that address you by first name, phishing emails might use “Dear Customer” or “Dear SIR/Madam”.

Poor Spelling & Grammar- Many phishing emails can contain spelling and grammar mistakes or feature awkward wording.

Suspicious Attachments- Use caution and evaluate everything about the email before opening it, especially if you are not expecting the email.

A Sense of Urgency- Emails that are written with an unusual sense of urgency to click on links or attachments are usually phishing emails.

Data security is something Data Facts takes seriously, and sometimes it takes headlines like this one to remind us to never let our guard down. Be smart and be vigilant- and remember that cyber-criminals don’t take days off.


Topics: Data security, Data privacy, Coronavirus, Cybersecurity

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