By now you probably know all about phishing attacks. You’ve been trained over and over to recognize scam emails and to report them instead of clicking on links or attachments. However, we are living and working in strange times, and unfortunately, hackers have found ways to use fear surrounding the pandemic to their advantage.
Typically, phishing emails are most successful for hackers when the email creates a sense of urgency for the target. Under stressful conditions in which we are forced to act quickly, we are more likely to make mistakes. Since emails involving information about the spread of Coronavirus and its effect on our lives are likely to create this sense of stress and urgency, COVID-19 makes an excellent topic for a phishing email. With this in mind, it’s extremely important to be on high alert when you see emails that mention COVID-19 to protect yourself from cyberattacks.
The following are some examples of Coronavirus phishing emails. As a general rule, you should verify the credibility of the email by contacting the sender using information you have about the sender that is independent from what's in the email BEFORE clicking links or attachments, especially with COVID-related emails.
As with any email you read, look for grammatical mistakes, strange tone, urgent requests, underlying URL that does not match the text and/or known website, and suspicious or unfamiliar senders. For more information on keeping information safe during the pandemic, visit our COVID-19 Security Tips and recognizing phishing emails webpages.