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"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.
Hack the news<p>Cybercriminals published fake news saying Facebook would be handing out free money to everyone affected by COVID-19. On a site cleverly disguised to look like Facebook, you fill out a form that shares personal data like your address, social security number or a photo of your ID. You get a confirmation message that your application has been accepted and sit back and wait for the money to arrive. It never will.<br> </p>The worst part? It's not the false hope, but what cybercriminals can do with this information: <a href="https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/skype-fraud-story/8043/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><u>tricking friends and family members into sending money</u></a>, credit card fraud or<a href="https://encyclopedia.kaspersky.com/glossary/identity-theft/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><u> even identity theft</u></a><p>.</p>
You've got mail<p>It's not just people like us who criminals are targeting - organizations are hit too. At work, you get sent an email you think is from someone you know or your manager. But when you click on a link or open an attachment, it downloads malicious software opening the door for hackers to access the corporate network. They download data to sell on the dark web, or encrypt it via <a href="https://www.tomorrowunlocked.com/wannacry" target="_self"><u>ransomware</u></a> and force the business to pay the ransom to stop it from being leaked.</p>
Keep it safe<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDUyMzQzNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0ODA3NTUwNn0.4-b3m5LobZ_T8Zhmnpx6A3Yx2s9t6tFHK5GRDx-VAD0/img.jpg?width=980" id="fd2d9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="eb27be53018bbb1e9d65209fa2715c02" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="4032" data-height="3024" />Photo by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash<p>Criminals have the resources to hit everyone, from society's most vulnerable people to lucrative targets like big businesses and government. "Clearly the world is not as safe as we would like it to be. We're surrounded by all kinds of new and different threats," explains <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/zakdoffman/?originalSubdomain=uk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><u>Zak Doffman</u></a>, Founder and CEO of Digital Barriers. "The access to COVID treatments is a nation-state wide competitive advantage."</p> <p>In the face of this influx of threats, more kudos to the people keeping us and our data safe, like the <a href="https://cyberv19.org.uk/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><u>Cyber Volunteers 19</u></a>. To keep yourself safe, Kaspersky Daily serves up advice on spotting and <a href="https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/facebook-grants/37181/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><u>protecting yourself from the Facebook grants scam</u></a>. </p>
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.
Where there’s panic, there’s cybercrime<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ1MjE3Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MDE1MDIzMn0.ZwP5NSWUmXtzD_iPL31w2T20vN7hh-wkS4_bGdhXSqY/img.jpg?width=980" id="a9c80" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3d595fd05c969f4cd0f9a2aeac09fd0c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="4096" data-height="2048" /><p>During the peak of pandemic information overload, COVID-19-themed cyberattacks spiked to a million a day in early March. Attacks targeting people access systems remotely – such as<a href="https://encyclopedia.kaspersky.com/knowledge/what-is-phishing/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <u>phishing</u></a>, malicious websites, and <a href="https://www.kaspersky.co.uk/resource-center/preemptive-safety/what-is-malware-and-how-to-protect-against-it" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><u>malware</u></a> - increased by a staggering 300 times during 2020.</p><p>Craig Jones, Director of Cybercrime at Interpol, explains: "Since March, the levels of work have ramped up. I've never known a period like it, not just at Interpol but also during my law enforcement experience." Check out Interpol's advice to protect yourself<a href="https://www.interpol.int/en/Crimes/Cybercrime/COVID-19-cyberthreats" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <u>against Covid-19 cyberthreats</u></a>.</p><p>So what can we do in a world where cybercriminals seem to be one step ahead of us? Hunting down the hackers is no easy task, but as the heroes in the second season of hacker:HUNTER shows, we can protect everyone by taking a stand against cybercrime.</p>
- Anti-Ransomware Day 2020 ›
- WannaCry - The Marcus Hutchins Story ›
- Tomorrow Unlocked > What was the biggest bank heist ever? ›
- Tomorrow Unlocked > hacker:HUNTER WannaCry - Chapter 1 ›
It was May 12th,2017. The ransomware known as WannaCry reached its peak and affected up to 200.000 computers across 150 countries. Imagine how many more people could have been affected by WannaCry, if it wasn't for Marcus Hutchins, who discovered the kill switch for WannaCry a few days after its discovery, putting a stop on this ransomware epidemic.
Ransomware infects hundreds of thousands of people each year with WannaCry keeping its top position within the most widespread ransomware. This is why today, May 12th, 2020 – on the first Anti-Ransomware Day in history – it is important to understand how ransomware works to keep our data safe and not fall for malicious cybercriminals.
What is ransomware?<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI3MDIwOS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyOTYxMjg3NX0._RvBNwkT7pcRD4GOIAOJ2k1tN3QIIY6kcSo-sVhTKwo/img.jpg?width=980" id="04238" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c8141ab4917bec07f876189e9a5ed64f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1280" data-height="839" /><p> Remember when you were little and your brother took your favorite toy hostage and threatened to destroy it if you didn't hand over the remote to him. <a href="https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/15591/392702" target="_blank">Ransomware</a> works similarly, but instead of taking your favorite toy away, it encrypts your data, so you cannot access it anymore, and the malicious person behind it threatens to destroy or publish it if you do not pay a ransom – hence the name ransomware. It can also extract data saved on your devices, like credit card numbers or login data, which could lead to criminals cleaning out your bank accounts.</p>
How does ransomware work?<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI3MDIxMC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMTU5MjI4N30.iiF6hun4pRu30X_VnSHS7NOXT4nyluGmspydDUxggq8/img.jpg?width=980" id="22caf" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cac27028233da22963271f88904651cf" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1280" data-height="746" /><p> Ransomware exploits vulnerabilities in software or <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drive-by_download" target="_blank">drive-by-downloads</a>. Drive-by-downloads are very tricky, as you don't always recognize they are being downloaded on your device. Let's say you are downloading a free time management tool on your computer. Ransomware could be attached to it and be transferred onto your device, without you recognizing. Another possible way is a crooked link which you visit accidentally because you might have clicked on an ad or spelled the URL incorrectly, so when the website is loading you don't realize that there is ransomware downloading in the background. It also spreads via so-called <a href="https://www.kaspersky.com/resource-center/definitions/social-engineering" target="_blank">social engineering</a>: Cybercriminals send malicious links or documents via emails or chat messages and try to attract users to open it. Once opened, the malicious software gets downloaded and starts taking hold of your data.</p>
How to keep safe?<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg5NjE4OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMDk5Mjc1NX0.Ac3Ka_iOyfex0Q3Cpkb3PkpfJp9UAdf4qqKjU8LAjyU/img.jpg?width=980" id="6976b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e22c1a7e271076f0e2081deff681c883" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p> To keep your data safe, you mainly need to stay alert: do not click on suspicious links, always check the URL before login into your profiles, and always make sure to not download any attachments from senders you do not know. Also, do not forget to back up your data. You may think your data is not as important, but just consider the emotional value of all your family pictures and videos or that report you need to hand in by the end of the week. And most importantly, please always keep your software up to date to ensure vulnerabilities are not a gateway to your data.</p>
What if it is already too late?<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMDQyMTkxMC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MDMyMTcwMn0.QmP3KgmZQIodUQ91Uuu3k-V7AXV28VermzW0jWEtrsw/img.jpg?width=980" id="7b531" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="426a6ce3948925b8fdfbd754c2542ec8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p> Ransomware attacks somebody every 14 seconds. If one of your devices gets infected, you have to immediately cut its internet connection, and however important the data is, do not pay the ransom. Instead, file a report with the police. Organizations like <a href="https://www.nomoreransom.org/" target="_blank">nomoreransom.org</a> can help you restore your encrypted data. Try to find a <a target="_blank">decryptor</a> online, some of them are even free – just make sure it's a trustworthy provider.</p><p> No matter how bad circumstances may be and how great of damage your data loss is, remember that there are always <a href="https://www.tomorrowunlocked.com/the_guardians" target="_self">guardians</a> out there, like Marcus Hutchins, <a href="https://youtu.be/_xqEldPA_xA" target="_blank">Eva Galperin</a>, <a href="https://youtu.be/PQsBiXnuiho" target="_blank">Einar Otto Stangvik</a>, or <a href="https://youtu.be/sxJ8S4fOpBU" target="_blank">Kira Rakova</a>, making sure we are safe in the digital world. And today, we would like to say: Thank you!</p>
- Tomorrow Unlocked > hacker : HUNTER ›
- Tomorrow Unlocked > Wannacry ›
- Tomorrow Unlocked > From hero to zero to a free man ›