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How did the hackers take advantage of the spread of the Coronavirus to launch their attacks on the Internet?

 How did the hackers take advantage of the spread of the Coronavirus to launch their attacks on the Internet?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread significantly by March 2020, reaching more than 100 countries around the world and officially classified as a global pandemic, and the world is still continuing to fight the unprecedented spread of this virus since it first appeared in China in December 2019.

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In addition to its clear implications for the health of individuals and the entire global economy; The spread of the virus has caused sudden and drastic changes in the daily life of millions of people, as it began to rely on the pattern of study and work from home, and video conferencing applications have become the primary tool for remote communication, but at the same time this massive online shift has exacerbated security concerns. Mail.

Although the hackers did not fundamentally invent any new attack schemes, they effectively exploited the emergence of the Coronavirus and the shifting work environment to increase their attacks on the Internet unnaturally, what are the most prominent of these threats?

  How did the hackers take advantage of the spread of the Coronavirus to launch their attacks on the Internet?

1- Threats from Home Workers:

Perhaps the main change with the spread of the Coronavirus has been the forced shift of the work environment from traditional offices to working from home, as a Kaspersky survey in 2020 found that half of the 6,000 respondents had never worked from home before.

The survey also found that 73% of respondents have not received any IT security education or training from the companies they work for since they moved to work from home, in addition to that; Many companies have not equipped their employees with work equipment.

The survey conducted by Kaspersky revealed that 68% of respondents work from home using their personal computers, and connect through them to the corporate infrastructure, and at the same time, they use these devices for entertainment, playing online games, and watching movies, which made them more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

All these factors have formed a prominent target for cybercriminals who have become more focused on attacking the devices of employees who work from home by penetrating home Wi-Fi networks to steal users' data and information, as well as exploiting loopholes in their devices to access the digital infrastructure of the companies and institutions in which they work.

2- Communication channels are not secured when working remotely:

Of course, when working from the office, IT support officials usually take care of securing Internet communication channels and dealing with any digital security threats that arise, but when employees work from home, they set up routers and home networks on their own, a practice that increases security risks.

As such, it was found that from March to April 2020 the number of attacks on insecure RDP ports - the most common remote communication protocol on Windows computers - increased ten times in Russia and seven times in the United States.

3- Weaknesses of Collaboration Tools:

In the office, employees can edit documents and attend meetings in person, but after the spread of the Coronavirus and the tendency of employees to work from home, the demand for video conferencing applications and team collaboration tools increased dramatically and this attracted the attention of hackers.

And then these applications became their target, in addition, that, employees often use personal accounts on free services such as Google Docs to collaborate with each other, as these services generally lack powerful features that enable them to protect confidential data.

4- Targeting health care services:

With the spread of the Coronavirus, the health care sector has become a major target for pirates, as denial of service attacks have grown significantly during 2020 and were among the most prominent targets, for example, in February and March of the US Department of Health and Human Services, and a group of hospitals in Paris, and one of the largest Centers for blood testing in the Czech Republic.

5- Phishing attacks that exploit the Coronavirus:

While governments around the world have been combating the spread of the Coronavirus and developing measures to support businesses and citizens, cybercriminals have tried to take advantage of the fear of the virus and the need for people to help. Hackers took advantage of this to send malicious emails about topics related to the Coronavirus.

For example, the hacker sent bogus emails pretending to be from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) where victims were asked to fill out forms for recent cases of coronavirus among their neighbors through URL links in these messages to visit websites containing forms requesting Them to enter their email address and password.

6- Fictitious Payments:

According to a recent report, hackers sent five times the number of harmful emails in 2020 compared to 2019 to lure victims about welfare benefits, as cybercriminals benefited from the real news related to Facebook's grants to small businesses, and they cited this and declared that payments are owed to all users. Facebook.

Accordingly, they asked the victims to apply for this scholarship by providing their account username and password, address, social security number, and a copy of their identity document.