Motivated in time of COVID-19 crisis, Hackers changing the way they target

Hackers changing the way they target

The COVID-19 pandemic has tested our limits and the imposed lockdown, making us stretch out of our comfort zones to achieve greatness. Everyone from healthcare workers to businesses has gotten involved in the battle against the novel coronavirus, completely forgetting about security risks.

Some have become less vigilant thinking that hackers and predators are taking a break. Little they know that the dangers of cybercrime are more prominent now than ever.

Hackers are exploiting the COVID-19 situation and trying to steal money and sensitive information. One of the most common forms of cyber-attacks is ransomware, which encrypts victim’s files like documents and images. People are fooled into downloading the virus from a website or open it as an email attachment. 

Nations, municipalities, as well as critical infrastructure, have been recently hit by ransomware. Criminal groups are seizing on the organization’s vulnerability, waiting for the right moment to break into the system.

The fact is that ransomware isn’t going away any time soon. The responsibilities of Cybersecurity professionals have, therefore, increased since the beginning of the outbreak. 

Malicious attacks keep on growing and, needless to say, it’s better to avoid being the victim than having to deal with ransomware groups. 

Ransomware gangs are changing their tactics 

While everyone has been busy dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, Hackers are revising their tactics and creating new opportunities to exploit. They have understood that it’s necessary to change their behaviour so as to adapt to the new reality.

If in the old days, they took a great deal of time scoping out all of the possibilities before deciding what to do, now, they simply attack. In other words, they launch malware immediately if they determine they can get their hands on the data. 

Hackers demand ransom from hospitals and laboratories

Hackers demanding

Some ransomware groups have promised not to target hospitals during the novel coronavirus crisis, but others simply don’t take into account such matters.

Online extortionists are only making matters worse by forcing healthcare organizations to pay up when they can’t even afford the downtime.

Why do hackers even target hospitals or laboratories? The answer is simple: They need to retrieve sensitive information to treat patients. To be more precise, they’re more likely to give in to their demands

Ransomware attacks have also been directed against medical research facilities and other healthcare operations, using information from previous attacks.

Also Read: Why SMEs Should Worry About Cyber Security in 2020

From a geographical standpoint, these attacks were focused on the United States, Europe, and South-East Asia. Organizations really need to think about upgrading their defences.

Preventative controls have to be adapted to enable flexible working practices and avoid unpleasant incidents. The ramifications of a malicious attack could possibly be devastating.

Just imagine what would happen to a hospital currently treating COVID-19. It would be virtually impossible to get hold of the patients’ medical history or the dosages of drugs they require. 

Attention needs to be paid to the fact that ransomware groups are constantly changing their targets. They have their eyes set on governmental agencies and the armed forces.

Of course, education and the business sector haven’t been overlooked in the process. Hackers know that they can win a lot more money if they diversify their targets.

Not everyone has the necessary financial resources to protect themselves. Some will be able to pay the hackers’ extortion demands, while others won’t and be left at their mercy.

Protecting yourself from ransomware attacks during COVID-19 

Protecting yourself from ransomware

Cybercriminals are launching malware and the main issue is that the attacks are more qualitative. It doesn’t come as a surprise that hackers are winning. They have started to use more sophisticated tools to obtain sensitive information, besides the fact that they choose larger classes of victims to make significant profits.

The aim of criminal activity is to take advantage of people’s fears and uncertainty. One thing is for sure, the global pandemic has been a time of fear and uncertainty. Everybody is much more vulnerable now, which is why it’s paramount to be extra cautious. 

The question now is: How can you prevent a ransomware attack in 2020? During the novel coronavirus pandemic, we face greater challenges, so additional precautions need to be taken. In what follows, we’ll explain what needs to be done to 

Educating staff members on cybersecurity 

Given the fact that the current landscape is continually evolving, hackers are getting a better chance of depositing ransomware in networks.

The global pandemic serves as a motivation for those who are looking forward to making money fast. Not all online extortionists are motivated by financial gain. Some of them use their skills to target large organization just to prove that they’re a force to be reckoned with. 

Also Read: Why Your Employees are Your Weakest Link When It Comes to Cybersecurity

Getting back on topic, it’s necessary to offer staff members practical advice on how to recognize lures – basically, to distinguish which files are infected or not. Equally important is to instill a no-blame culture. Employees should feel confident to report incidences, even if it’s their fault. 

Developing an integrated approach to tackling the threats from the Internet 

Tackling the threats

Ransomware is capable of deleting backups, which means that it’s impossible to restore old files. The best thing to do is to not backup information on local computers.

Sensitive and confidential data should be stored in the cloud. Taking care of critical vulnerabilities is important. Even the smartest devices can be hacked and that’s because they’re not built with security in mind.

Most importantly, if you become the victim of a ransomware attack, get in touch with the pros. Ransomware experts can reduce the costs through negotiation, help with the decryption of the systems, and even detect ongoing attacks during ransomware negotiations. The fact is that recovery requires a great deal of effort. When you outsource technical personnel, the responsibility becomes theirs. 

The ransomware trend is evolving and hackers will find doors to exploit. The last thing you want is a message on your screen letting you know that one of your systems has been taken over. So, be wary of criminal acts.

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