Cybercriminals Using Coronavirus Fears to Target Victims

13 Mar

In the wake of Coronavirus, cybercriminals are using the opportunity to take advantage of fearful people who are trying to protect themselves from the virus. According to reports by The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, a total of 21 cases of fraud have been recorded over the last month and victims in the UK have lost more than £800,000 to Coronavirus-related scams.

Many of these scams have involved tricking people who wanted to buy protective masks, with one victim paying £15,000 for masks that were never actually delivered. Others involved the sending of fraudulent emails from fake ‘Centres for Disease Control’ accounts offering the recipient a list of infected people within their local area, which took the email recipients to malicious websites.

Although cyber scams can look plausible and it’s getting increasingly difficult to detect deceitful emails from genuine ones, there are some simple steps you can implement to help protect yourself.

Here are a few things to look for when deciding if an email is fraudulent or not:

  • Check that the sender’s email address is legitimate
  • Hover your mouse (don’t click) over linked text to see if the link looks weird
  • Look out for spelling mistakes and poor grammar
  • Be wary of emails that aren’t addressed to you personally
  • If an email is asking for personal information, such as bank account details, don’t trust it
  • Beware of subject lines that evoke fear, e.g. ‘Your account has been suspended’
  • Check that the signature contains legitimate contact details
  • Don’t open email attachments that you weren’t expecting

Working from home? Why you should be extra cautious

As the situation with Coronavirus develops, it’s possible that more and more employees will work from home in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. However, working away from the office and without access to a secure local network increases the risk of devices being hacked.

Whereas in the office employees use work devices that are usually up-to-date with the latest security updates and software, encrypted hard drives, automatic lock screens and so on, working remotely leaves devices vulnerable. For example, weak security settings can expose sensitive data and work-related information to cybercriminals.

Any employees that are planning to work from home should speak to their IT department first to check their security settings. It’s also vital that businesses educate employees about cybercrime and the steps they can take to reduce the risk of a cyber-attack. Click here for more information about educating employees on the importance of cybersecurity.

Need advice?

If you have any questions or need further guidance, please contact our cyber specialist, Emma Francis today on 01792 704317 or at