As COVID-19 continues to spread around the globe, it’s crucial not to overlook the risks associated with electronic viruses. The same goes for phishing, hacking and other types of cybercrime. Online criminals try to take advantage of every major emergency situation. They benefit from increased internet activity and use the pandemic as an excuse not to meet victims in person.
People had started to lose interest in online dating before COVID-19 appeared, but the deadly disease quickly reversed this trend. Companies like Tinder and Bumble reported significant increases in communication on their platforms as early as March 2020, according to CNBC. Sadly, many individuals lost money to cyber criminals who used these services to find victims rather than lovers.
The Federal Trade Commission reported that losses linked to online dating scams surged to just over $300 million in 2020. Each person lost $2,500 on average. Criminals set up fake profiles, often misusing real individuals’ names and photos. They contact potential victims and express romantic interest. Eventually, the scammers use compelling stories to request money or gift cards.
Working at Home
Many offices rapidly shifted to remote work in 2020. While this helped prevent staff members from spreading the disease, it also created serious security risks. A survey found that numerous employees use the same equipment for personal and business tasks, according to Security Magazine. This trend has resulted in more malware infections and phishing attacks.
As other activities became too risky, COVID-19 caused nearly half of computer and smartphone users to access social media networks for longer periods of time. The pandemic has made many people feel fatigued or emotional, increasing their vulnerability to scams and malware. Social media cyber security becomes especially important under these circumstances.
Some internet criminals hack into Facebook accounts and impersonate familiar individuals. They can deceive people more easily because their messages seem to come from a friend, relative or co-worker. Hackers have promised free health products or COVID-19 grants in an effort to harvest personal information and steal victims’ identities. Optimal privacy and online safety settings can help prevent these crimes.
As shoppers turn to the internet to avoid crowded stores, cyber criminals have created fake retail websites to steal customers’ money or financial details. They also continue to employ keylogger viruses that record and transmit every keystroke. This malware can provide hackers with access to internet users’ credit cards, shopping passwords and email accounts.
While many of these problems existed before the pandemic, COVID-19 has made them considerably worse. It’s vital to limit access to your personal information and always keep cyber security in mind when you access the internet. Remember that clicking the wrong link, replying to deceptive messages or opening a malicious attachment could lead to severe financial consequences.