LEUSDEN – While measures take effect worldwide to curb activities, events, and industriousness, there is actually question of a revival of activities in the world of cyber-criminality. Phishing mails, fake accounts on social media, and false websites related to the coronavirus have increased by a factor 5 in a short period of time, as observed by the cyber-experts of the Dutch Tesorion.
At Tesorion, suspicious digital activities that are related to the coronavirus have already been monitored for many weeks. Lodi Hensen, Head of the Computer Emergency Response Team at Tesorion, observes the rise of a variety of criminal methods taking advantage of the coverage of the coronavirus. For instance, malicious websites and emails are fabricated by rogue entities and they are often of a professional quality. ‘They are deceptively real and appear to originate from, for instance, the WHO, from another healthcare organisation, or from an official authority. The curiosity of people results in a slightly less critical approach, and the mention of COVID-19 is simply enough to nonetheless open the attachment, or to check the website.’
The advice of the government to work more from home is, in particular, very useful to prevent a further spread of COVID-19 or to delay the spread. At the same time, it has a counter-productive effect on the digital health. Devices at home are often (much) less secured against malware than those at work. In this respect, Lodi Hensen foresees a problem in the coming period: ‘A person who in a moment of carelessness clicks on a link or opens an attachment, can be infected and that often does not remain limited to the one device. A digital virus is also easily transferable. Hence, I can only add to the official advice that people should also wash their digital hands really well.’