Cybercriminals Take Advantage Of Coronavirus News – Expert Warning

Given the high levels of anxiety surrounding the spread of the Coronavirus that exists globally, there are currently opportunistic spammers using the term in a wrongful and disingenuous way within their digital campaigns. Research from Imperva found a clear correlation between the term’s popularity on Google and its appearance in bot traffic over the same period.

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Avishay Zawoznik
Avishay Zawoznik , Security Research Manager
InfoSec Expert
February 18, 2020 2:42 pm

High levels of concern around the Coronavirus are currently being used in wrongful and disingenuous ways, to increase the online popularity of spam campaigns designed to spread fake news and drive unsuspecting users to dubious online drug stores. For people searching for genuine information on the virus, this spam is polluting their online search results with meaningless results.

Two different types of spam campaigns can be seen: comment spamming and a more sophisticated ‘spray-and-pray’ technique, in which unsuspecting users can be taken to a hijacked ‘neutral’ site made to look like a Coronavirus information resource and then onto a notorious online drugstore.

Spam is, at best, a nuisance. At worst, it can be used to deliver phishing messages, infectious malware, and more. Pharma spam is particularly nefarious – not only in terms of the volume of spam involved but for the risks posed to public health by counterfeit drugs.

But, as long as spammers are able to make money from encouraging site traffic or sales, they’ll continue to do so. Sowing clickbait or SEO in comments relies on spammers staying on top of the hot topics. And right now, topics don’t get any hotter than Coronavirus.

As ever, awareness is key. Be sure that what you’re reading is what you think it is, and never click on a link you don’t recognize.

Last edited 2 years ago by Avishay Zawoznik
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