News

Google is blocking 18m corona virus scam emails every day

The tech giant says the pandemic has led to an explosion of phishing attacks in which criminals try to trick users into revealing personal data. The company said it was blocking more than 100 million phishing emails a day. Over the past week, almost a fifth were scam emails related to coronavirus. The virus may now be the biggest phishing topic ever, tech firms say.

Google's Gmail is used by 1.5 billion people.

Individuals are being sent a huge variety of emails which impersonate authorities, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), in an effort to persuade victims to download software or donate to bogus causes.

  • Cyber-criminals are also attempting to capitalize on government support packages by imitating public institutions.
  • Google claims that its machine-learning tools are able to block more than 99.9% of emails from reaching its users.

The growth in coronavirus-themed phishing is being recorded by several cyber-security companies.

What is Phishing Attack:

Phishing attacks always share the common trait of inciting or depending on an emotion that causes us to act more hastily or think less about our actions at that moment in time. "The coronavirus pandemic is a highly emotional topic right now and cyber-criminals clearly know this. They're hoping that the typical person might be more inclined to click through links or follow bad instructions if they use this lure."

Exploitation:

Researchers have found malicious websites and smartphone applications based on genuine coronavirus resources.One malicious Android app claims to help track the spread of the virus, but instead infects the phone with ransomware and demands payment to restore the device.

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. They may

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information
  • say you must confirm some personal information
  • include a fake invoice
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund
  • offer a coupon for free stuff

Prevention:

Four Steps to Protect Yourself From Phishing:

1. Protect your computer by using security software. Set the software to update automatically so it can deal with any new security threats.

2. Protect your mobile phone by setting software to update automatically. These updates could give you critical protection against security threats.

3. Protect your accounts by using multi-factor authentication. Some accounts offer extra security by requiring two or more credentials to log in to your account. This is called multi-factor authentication. The additional credentials you need to log in to your account fall into two categories:

  • Something you have — like a passcode you get via text message or an authentication app.
  • Something you are — like a scan of your fingerprint, your retina, or your face.

Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for scammers to log in to your accounts if they do get your username and password.

4. Protect your data by backing it up. Back up your data and make sure those backups aren’t connected to your home network. You can copy your computer files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Back up the data on your phone, too.