Posted on April 4, 2020 at 3:28 PM
Cybercriminals Intensify Activities Amidst COVID-19
As the fight against coronavirus pandemic continues, Cybercriminals are taking advantage to attack computers and devices with ransomware and DDoS.
These criminals are seriously intensifying efforts at a period when workers are working from home. As the majority of the workers are now using networks from home, it has made them more vulnerable to cyber attacks, and the criminal operators are not slowing down in their bid to infiltrate users’ systems.
Online services have now increased platforms in this trying period of restrictive movement. This current way of life has opened the door and offered hackers and cybercriminals an open invitation to cause attack systems.
Cybercriminals have stepped up their activities
Europol recently published a paper to determine how cybercriminals have intensified their operations since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper also analyzed how these hackers are taking advantage of vulnerabilities arising from the current situation.
The report revealed that cybercriminals have expanded their scope and stepped up their ransomware attacks, even when the world is currently facing a difficult time.
According to the report, these criminals exploiting the coronavirus pandemic are not new in their chosen criminal profession. They have been operating and causing havoc even before the outbreak of the virus.
But the outbreak has given them opportunities to compromise more system and they are currently recruiting other members to help in the attacks. “The types of criminals exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic online were also active in the area of cybercrime before,” the report says.
Cyberattackers targeting critical COVID-19 service centers
Last month, some services in a Czech hospital used as COVID-19 testing ground were temporarily shut down as a result of a cyber attack on their systems. The hospital had no choice but to shut down some of the services to prevent the complete infiltration of their system. The incident demonstrated that these criminals could go to any length to get what they are looking for.
The report further revealed that the pandemic could multiply the effect of any cyber attack on some institutions. As a result, there is a need for more effective measures to curtail or prevent these attacks.
DDoS attack also on the increase
According to the Europol report, there are now more DDoS attacks on institutions and organizations than it was before the pandemic. The unfortunate thing is there is a high possibility that the DDoS attacks will increase in the future as the pandemic continues.
DDoS is usually carried out to disrupt the proper functioning of the system, just like ransomware attacks. And since many workers operating from home are connecting to a network, there could be more attacks from these criminals in the few months to come.
Business organizations and other institutions should brace up and do their best to protect their system and data because these cybercriminals have intensified their efforts and technology to infiltrate as many systems as they can, the paper states.
Attackers seeking a ransom from victims
The main aim of the DDoS and ransomware attackers is to run extortion campaigns against critical services and organizations. They could issue threats to take down online services by overloading them from botnet traffics unless the ransom is paid.
Since DDoS attacks are very easy to carry out, they could become the biggest concern for organizations. As Europol describes it, DDoS is a type of cyber attack that is readily available and cheap for everyone.
It does not require a high level of expertise to carry out, which means there could be large numbers of criminals launching DDoS attacks on networks if this pandemic continues. And when this attack becomes successful in a critical service provider for the pandemic, it could lead to serious consequences.
According to the executive director of Europol, Catherine Bolle, the pandemic will bring out the worst in humanity as much as it brings out the best in them. While many people would be working tirelessly and contributing to help fight the pandemic, there are other spectrums of individuals who are prepared to pounce on vulnerabilities during this period.
And as many people are connecting from home with outdated and unsecured systems, it has left more people vulnerable and at the mercy of these attackers, she concludes.