The Covid-19 pandemic has fostered an increase in cyber attacks in some 50 countries, increasingly targeting governments and health institutions, Interpol warned Tuesday, August 4. Over the period from January to April, the international organization for police cooperation, based in Lyon, detected nearly 907,000 spam emails, 737 incidents caused by malware and 48,000 harmful URL links, " all related to the coronavirus ".
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These data were collected by Interpol in a survey carried out between April and May among its 194 member countries. 48 countries responded, including 42% in Europe, 19% in Asia, 17% in Africa, 12% in America and 10% in the Middle East. “ Private partners ”, such as security companies, also provided information. " Cybercriminals are developing and increasing their attacks at an alarming rate, exploiting the fear and uncertainty caused by the unstable economic and social situation as a result of Covid-19, " the secretary general said in a statement of Interpol Jürgen Stock.
Several types of attacks identified
" The growing dependence in the world on the web is also creating new opportunities (of attacks), with many businesses and individuals not making sure that their (online) defense (capacities) are up to date ", a- he stressed. Several types of attacks have been identified. Almost two-thirds of the countries that participated in the assessment report incidents of scams or phishing to retrieve personal data, with criminals “ posing as governments or health authorities ”.
The second technique most criticized by the countries surveyed is the distribution of malware accompanied by a ransom demand, with an " evolution in the choice of targets " to " maximize the damage and financial gain ". Thus, the number of attacks disrupting health infrastructure and then demanding ransom from them increased, with a notable peak during the first two weeks of April. " Multiple (criminal) groups that were inactive in recent months " have resumed service, Interpol said.
The registration of domain names using keywords such as “ coronavirus ” or “ COVID ” is also on the “ significant rise ”, and ranks third among the fraudulent techniques most cited by countries. These illegitimate sites lure Internet users " in search of medical equipment or information on the coronavirus " to, among other things, recover their personal data. The countries surveyed also point to a massive circulation of false information.