Cyber security experts join hands to block coronavirus-related cyber campaigns
Nearly 400 cyber security experts from 40 countries have come together to create a COVID-19 CTI League in an effort to fight hackers looking to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis.
The new group includes professionals from technology firms such as Amazon and Microsoft, according to Reuters. Its primary goal is to thwart targeted cyber attacks against medical facilities and other institutions that are currently playing a critical role in fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
The deadly coronavirus has infected more than 450,000 people worldwide so far, with nearly 20,000 fatalities attributed to the disease. The outbreak has also forced several governments to impose lockdowns in their countries in a bid to curb the movement of people and prevent infection from spreading.
The outbreak has also given hackers and cyber criminals an opportunity to trick internet users into revealing confidential details by exploiting their fear of COVID-19, or the desire to have more information about the outbreak.
And many cyber security firms have reported a huge spike in the number of cyber attacks against organisations serving as frontline responders.
Earlier this week, hospitals in Spain were targeted with virus-themed phishing lures by attackers looking to lock-down their systems with Netwalker ransomware. Local reports said that that several medical centres had received emails that offered to provide “information on COVID-19”, but with PDF attachments that activated ransomware.
Earlier this month, hackers tried to infiltrate the networks of the World Health Organization (WHO) in attempt to steal sensitive information from the global health agency.
Security software vendor Malwarebytes also reported this week that Pakistan state-sponsored group APT36 has been using a fake Indian government advisory to spread remote-access Trojan.
“I’ve never seen this volume of phishing,” Marc Rogers, one of the four initial managers of the COVID-19 CTI League, and a vice president at security firm Okta Inc.
“I am literally seeing phishing messages in every language known to man,” he added.
Rogers believes boosting defence of communication networks is also essential in the fight against coronavirus-related hacking.
The league has already started working on targeted attacks against health organisations, and recently took knocked down a campaign that exploited a security vulnerability in a specific software to spread malware.
The new group is also getting support of law enforcement agencies, according to Rogers.
“I have never seen this level of cooperation,” he said.
“I hope it continues afterwards, because it’s a beautiful thing to see.”