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WebARX creates COVID-19 cyber threats database to spread awareness

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by Startacus Admin

covid 19 cyber threats
WebARX creates a COVID-19 cyber threats page to collect all the cyber attacks and online threats surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic

As the COVID-19 virus has led many to work from home, scammers are taking advantage.

WebARX, an Estonian web security company was inspired by the #hackthecrisis movement to do their part in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. On late Friday evening on 20th of March, WebARX released a special page to collect all the cyber attacks and online threats surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“As a web security company, over the past weeks, we have been blocking an increased amount of website exploitation attempts. Additionally, we’ve been monitoring the increased amount of phishing, scam and malware attacks surrounding COVID-19. It felt like a responsibility to spread awareness around the online threats, especially as there are so many people who are in the remote-work environment for the first time.”

Some of the types of online threats that people might be vulnerable to under COVID:WebARX

1) Phishing - Most of these are in the form of an email which impersonates some legitimate source to take specific action. Emails and sometimes text messages are sent for fraudulent tax refunds and for infecting the recipient with malware.

2) Scams - Websites have been set up to gather donations, fake products are being sold and all sorts of bogus advice is sold for the cure.

3) Malware - Victims of phishing attacks are infected with ransomware as they download and open documents that claim to be COVID-19 test results or statistics about infection in your local region.

4) Fake news - Social media companies are struggling with the spread of fake news around the COVID-19 pandemic. There is considerable amount of fake news about the pandemic and conspiracies about the COVID-19 cures. Some have even linked 5G with the pandemic.

5)  Malicious websites -  Many domains are being registered with the pandemic keywords such as coronavirus, COVID-19, etc. There are also reports of domain typosquatting (registering a very similar domain to legit domain with a typo people might make.) One of the most known incidents is when a popular coronavirus map was copied to another domain and infected the visitors with information stealing trojan.

The site has a submissions area where IT professionals and people who have witnessed an attack such these can contribute to make it easier to spread awareness with the public.

“You can find news articles, guides and even research papers submitted to us. We’ve received over 20 submissions within the first 48 hours.”

Since launch, thousands have used the site to help keep up with the increasing security threats related to the COVID-19 virus.  This demand indicates how the public needed a place to keep up with online threats surrounding the pandemic and being able to quickly share this information with their colleagues, friends and family.

The uncertainty of what is about to come, the panic and fear makes people vulnerable and drop their defences. At the same time, cybersecurity threats have become even more sophisticated. For many, shifting to working from home is unfamiliar and many organisations were unprepared.

If you are transitioning to a new, work from home setup, to stay safe, here are the top 3 things you should keep in mind:

  1. If anything you see online sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

  2. Check the email address where you got the email from. Keep in mind that phishers can create links that look like legitimate addresses. 

  3. Protect your access. Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible and use a password management tool.

It’s clear that preventative education and cyber security awareness seems to be the number one means on how to prevent such threats, so at this point it’s up to every single one of us and we welcome all to share the information and to contribute.

WebARX is a global cybersecurity company that works to monitor and protect websites from third-party code vulnerabilities. WebARX is used daily by developers all over the world to detect and mitigate vulnerabilities and to filter hacking attempts. The company is continually monitoring security threats and publishing research about the largest cause of security breaches - vulnerable web applications.


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Published on: 24th March 2020

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