As people of various countries try to get a semblance of the lives they had pre-outbreak, hackers have taken advantage of the outbreak to increase their attack and formulate different methods for breaching systems.
Google gave an analysis of the emails received during this period.
As of April, Gmail was sorting through 18million Covid-19 related malicious emails daily. These emails are now regionalized, as there is a rise of malware, phishing, and spam emails in Brazil, India and the U.K. The hackers are exploiting crisis aids and incentives relevant to these regions.
Gmail remains effective in blocking the majority of the spam, phishing, and malware. It also has placed measures to counter all covid-19 related threats fully. Google notes that these campaigns are no novel techniques but remodeled old emails.
Each country is targeted based on its incentives.
In the U.K, the government announced measures to assist business owners in surviving the pandemic. Attackers then went ahead to mimic government institutions to gain access to users’ private data. In some extreme cases, they even went ahead to masquerade as the search giants.
Streaming services in Brazil saw an increase in usage. The threat actors, sighting this as resourceful, send phishing emails to customers asking them to pay or subscribe to a particular package while posing as the streaming service.
The Aarogya Setu in India, an initiative set up by the government to provide the Indians with health services; has an increased number of threats. Insurance companies in India have had a massive surge as more Indians pay for health insurance.
The customized threats look like the relevant government parastatal, tricking people into clicking on the emails.
Google notes, “these protections, newly developed and already existing, have allowed us to react quickly and effectively to COVID-19-related threats and allow us to adapt quickly to new ones. Additionally, as we uncover threats, we assimilate them into our Safe Browsing infrastructure; so that anyone using the Safe Browsing APIs can automatically stop them.”
Since the observed increase in scam emails, the search giants have stepped up their game by developing a deep-learning-base malware scanner that thoroughly scans at least 300 billion documents every week. This scanner has improved the detection of malicious nails by up to 10%.