Residents warned to beware phishing and malware scams related to COVID-19


Published March 14, 2020 at 11:21 pm


While residents already know to practice proper hygiene in order to protect themselves from COVID-19, they should be vigilant to protect their cyber security as well.

As the pandemic grows, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (CCCS) reports that it’s seeing an increase in phishing campaigns and malware scams related to COVID-19.

The scams, which generally impersonate health agencies, are designed to trick victims into opening an attachment or clicking a link that will allow the scammer to obtain their personal credentials or gain unauthorized access to a computer system.

“There have been recent instances where phishing has been used in attempt to impersonate various health agencies,” the CCCS says. “Malicious cyber actors are quick to take advantage of high profile events, particularly those that cause worry and concern.”

The CCCS has listed multiple steps residents can take to protect themselves from harm.

Against malicious emails and attachments:

  • Make sure the address or attachment is relevant to the content of the email.
  • Make sure you know the sender of an email.
  • Look for typos.
  • Use anti-virus or anti-malware software on computers.
  • Make sure that the sender’s email address has a valid username and domain name.
  • Be extra cautious if the email tone is urgent.
  • If you were not expecting an attachment, verify with the sender.

Against malicious websites:

  • Make sure URLs are spelled correctly.
  • Directly type the URL in the search bar instead of clicking a provided link.
  • If you must click on a hyperlink, hover your mouse over the link to check if it directs to the right website.

Other steps to stay cyber-safe include using unique passwords, keeping mobile devices, computers, and applications updated, backing up your data, and securing your social media and email accounts.

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