Cybercriminals now have a new opportunity to exploit – the Coronavirus.  Scammers once again have found a way to profit off of a crisis.  While we are overwhelmed with messages from social media sources about how to avoid contracting the coronavirus, there are scammers waiting in the wings to take advantage by marketing fraudulent products and websites.  According to the 2020 Official Annual Cybercrime Report by Cybersecurity Ventures, sponsored by Herjavec Group, it is predicted that cybercrime will cost the world in excess of $6 trillion annually by 2021.[1] The Coronavirus crisis has once again empowered fraudsters with a new opportunity to scam the world.

With all the information and education given to us from cybersecurity specialists, curiosity will still get the best out of some people.  Those seeking that miracle product, longing for an easy fix can still get hooked into an unsuspecting scam?  According to The Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration there are scams today focused on the Coronavirus that are being marketed as self-help products, including unapproved drugs, specialty teas, essential oils, and colloidal silver.  Knowing that fraud can lurk everywhere, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has also been on alert for stock scams promoting the sale of stocks of companies with products that allegedly can prevent, detect or cure coronavirus. 

It seems to be unavoidable to become an unsuspecting participant in the world of cybercrime.  Even as I sit at my computer thinking about the global infection rates of the coronavirus and searching for a website that would display on a world map all the countries that have been attacked by this novel virus; I’m stopped by an article about the spread of password-stealing malware on an interactive coronavirus map!  This map was not just any map, but produced by John Hopkins University.  Deceptively, the online map comes with real-time data from the World Health Organization and other sources – seems great – all reputable sources?  As reported by Krebsonsecurity.com,[2] this map is being used in malicious websites and possible spam emails to spread password-stealing malware. Beware, once you open the map the malware will spread to you and all your friends and then it goes viral!   

You can’t be too careful with the spread of Coronavirus, so please – wash  your hands often, avoid crowds, avoid touching your face, carry hand sanitizer, stay home if you feel sick, clean and disinfect items frequently touched and don’t’ buy stock in companies that market magical cures and websites that peak your curiosity.Stay healthy!