As coronavirus barriers slowly dissolve, attempts to use the pandemic to defraud people continue to gain momentum.
According to an analysis of corona virus-related domain names by the cyber security company Cujo.AI, these scams can be divided into three general categories: counterfeit products, financial fraud and impersonation with health organizations.
The results are the latest reminder that the global spread of the corona virus has left millions vulnerable to fake or misleading information. Regardless of whether it is disinformation campaigns or weak security measures in connection with remote work, the frantic search for reliable information in connection with the growing distrust of digital information has created the ideal conditions to chase frightened Internet users.
“These scams are basically attempts to directly entice people to pay money for a charity related to COVID-1
Cujo AI is based in El Segundo, California and provides a platform for cyber security and device management to network operators such as Comcast and Charter. The service spans more than 20 million households and reaches 500 million endpoints.
As of February, according to Marozas, Cujo began tracking an increase in registered domain names that contained a version of “COVID” or “Coronavirus”. An analysis of these domain names showed that the largest category is dedicated to one type of news and information. While many sites for news and news aggregation could be legitimate, many other sites that install malware are many, and it’s difficult for consumers to distinguish between the two, he said.
This new set of websites lurks scammers who are doing their best to defraud people with three comprehensive strategies.
The most common coronavirus fraud, according to Cujo, was counterfeit products and services. Counterfeit products included a Coronavirus Frequency Defense, which is said to use sound and noise to ward off the virus, and a COVID-19 sterilizer, which uses UV light to clean your home or office. There were also a variety of disinfection services that claimed to be licensed for such work, but had clearly created a website in a hurry. Marozas admitted that separating the real from the wrong is a challenge for both consumers and the Cujo system, which tries to warn people when they access a website that poses a security risk.
With governments around the world introducing tax delays or offering discounts or subsidies to individuals and businesses, fraudsters use these programs to get people to share their personal and financial information. Cujo discovered several versions of it, including a Lithuanian counterfeit tax website and fake tax authorities that appear online in the U.S., UK, and Canada.
In addition, Cujo has discovered a growing number of charity scams trying to get people to do something like research or crowdfunding health care for someone who has been diagnosed.
Mimicking health organizations
The third main category is websites that pretend to be health organizations, with the World Health Organization being the most popular destination. In some cases, these websites are really phishing campaigns that try to obtain personal information, and in other cases, malware is secretly installed. While some copy legitimate health information, others contain advice or news about the spread of the virus that is misleading or incorrect.
Marozas said that even if these scams fail, their existence only contributes to the idea that information online is not trustworthy. And this notion is even more troubling during a global pandemic. “We are essentially endangering the global community,” he said.