With the coronavirus halting most of the world’s non-essential operations leaving countless people stuck at home, it’s not surprising that scammers and phishers are stepping up their game in creating new scams to lure vulnerable people in.
In a report published by Google, the Internet giant says that they see 18 million phishing emails and malware that are related to COVID-19 every day alongside 240 million spams messages.
The COVID-19 is a sensitive topic for almost everyone in the world today, and scammers know this to be a fact, which is why the disease has become their primary weapon in tricking users into being receptive to their cyber-attacks.
Phishing attacks are characterized by the use of emotions in order to get people to act impulsively and reveal vital information. Using the coronavirus in their attacks can certainly convince a number of unsuspecting people to be more inclined to follow malicious instructions.
Since more people are turning to the Internet as a means of communication and entertainment during the pandemic, there has also been a big increase in the number of malicious phishing emails on the Internet. Some of the attacks impersonate notable figures and organizations such as the World Health Organization and even U.S. Pres. Donald Trump.
There are also attacks that specifically target people working from home, sending phishing emails that imitate government support packages. Most of the time, however, the online threats consist of existing malware that is updated to include the COVID-19.
According to Google, they have machine learning models that could filter most of the threats and block around 99.9% of spam, phishing emails, and malware so that they don’t reach the 1.5 billion Gmail users in the world.
For its G Suite offering, which caters mostly to business enterprises, Google has made its advanced phishing and malware control to be on default. This works by identifying suspicious emails and quarantining them automatically without the users, even knowing. This means that right from the start; businesses are being protected from cyber-attacks.
Furthermore, the company is employing proactive monitoring methods to detect coronavirus-related attacks and malware from its systems. Once a threat is detected, it is immediately added to the Safe Browsing API that encompasses all of Google’s integrated products like Gmail and Chrome.
Safe Browsing allows Google to warn users whenever they try to venture into websites that are deemed unsafe. This allows the company to protect around four billion devices each day.
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