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COVID-19 - An Increase in Cybercrime

07 April 2020

While the world comes to terms with the impact of the Coronavirus on our lives, criminals are trying to take full advantage of the situation.

We all must stay extra cautious with any emails or texts we receive. Especially any communication that directs you to websites asking for passwords or bank details. A recent report states that 80% of the current threat landscape is COVID-19 related. There is a large increase in the amount of spam and malicious email coming our way.

What Are Some Examples of Cybercrime?

At Bruce Stevenson, our robust IT security systems have, and continue to, protect us from sinister attempts by cybercriminals.

Here are some examples of the malicious scams we’ve related to COVID-19 that we have been made aware of:

  • A fake email from the World Health Organisation (WHO) offering advice on safety measures regarding the spreading of Coronavirus which takes you to a webpage looking for an email address and password.
  • A fake email from the WHO with a fundraising plea asking for donations in Bitcoin to fund COVID-19 research.
  • Marketing for purchasing “emergency supplies,” including medical aid such as filter masks.
  • Extortion emails threatening to infect your family with Coronavirus if you don’t pay.
  • Fake Texts and Emails from HMRC offering a tax rebate as part of the Governments COVID-19 relief measures.


What are the Signs of Cybercrime to Look For?

Sometimes, spotting these threats can be tricky. It is important to know what to look for.

  • Be vigilant with unexpected approaches from alleged compensation firms and insurance companies. These could be criminals masquerading as a legitimate company. Such approaches typically take the form of emails, texts, social media posts, and phone calls. If you are in any doubt, call the company you have been approached by on a phone number that you know to be correct.
  • Whatever you do, do not click on unknown links in texts, social media posts, emails or open unverified email attachments. These could link your operating system to websites that capture your passwords and other confidential information. They could also infect your operating system with a malware infection. Both of these can result in financial or identity fraud and could even link you to adult, hate, extremist or other malevolent content.
  • Be vigilant with receiving emails from the personal email address of someone you usually have contact with through a business email address. Switching to remote working has forced some individuals to resort to using their personal email accounts. Be extra careful before sharing any type of sensitive or confidential information in these instances because there is a much higher risk of personal email accounts being hacked.
  • When remote working, ensure multi-factor authentication is tested and enabled to bolster network security across the business. Increased levels of remote working have created further gateways for hackers.
  • Be extra-cautious when it comes to emails relating to COVID-19. Make sure you and your team are trained to expect them, correctly identify them and handle them securely.

If you have any questions about the impact of cybercrime on your business, or wish to discuss your current level of cyber insurance, please get in touch with your usual Bruce Stevenson representative. Alternatively, send us a message here and we’ll get back to you.

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