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COVID fake news and false hope

How hackers are exploiting the pandemic

"Cybercriminals were quick to realize many years ago that people fall prey to hot topics," says Costin Raiu, Director of Global Research & Analysis, Kaspersky. And today's hottest topic is the pandemic.

Chapter 2 of hacker:HUNTER ha(ck)c1ne explores COVID-related phishing attacks, known as spear-phishing. These attacks skyrocketed by nearly seven times between February and March this year.


When the virus took force, and we were all frantic trying to help each other, cybercriminals found a way to wreak havoc. In September, Facebook announced an aid program of $100 million for small business owners affected by the pandemic. When the story was picked up by the media, hackers started fishing (or, more accurately, phishing) with the bait.


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On September 9, in a hospital in Dusseldorf, Germany, a patient died from a virus. It wasn't what you might think: the hospital was hit by ransomware, infecting 30 servers before causing a total system shutdown, leading to the loss of her life. Yet this was a random act of chaos: the hackers misfired, they intended to infiltrate a nearby university.

This attack was fatal, but not unexpected. Attacks on hospitals and other health organizations have dramatically increased during the pandemic. When they hit, they can cost lives. Hospitals often have limited cybersecurity, making them vulnerable to attacks. In March, the University Hospital Brno, Czech Republic, faced a similar attack, fortunately, with no casualties.

For the latest hacker episode:HUNTER, we spoke to hospital staff to understand how ransomware attacks could harm patients.


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The inflation in Venezuela is increasing day by day. This means that doing your basic grocery shopping could lead to people overdrawing their bank account. A man who had plans to give the people their financial freedom back is Gabriel Jiménez. He is the entrepreneurial brain behind Venezuela's Petro, the system that sought to make history as the first state-backed cryptocurrency. He wanted to change the world, but instead, he had to flee his country.