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Protect Tomorrow

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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Guardians

hacker:HUNTER WannaCry - Chapter 1

How WannaCry hit the world and how it suddenly stopped

One day in May 2017, computers all around the world suddenly shut down. A malware called WannaCry asks for ransom. The epidemic suddenly stops, because a young, British researcher found a killswitch, by accident.

From the Web:

What is WannaCry ransomware, how does it infect, and who was responsible?

WannaCry cyber attack cost the NHS £92m as 19,000 appointments cancelled

Wannacry on securelist.com