The world is gripped by the recent Coronavirus pandemic that has affected virtually every country. However, the threats from the virus may not be limited just there as researchers warn against increasing cybersecurity threats amidst the ongoing crisis.
As various governments are enforcing lockdowns, work is quickly shifting towards the digital and online realms. But with this increase in traffic online, apart from just pressures on ISPs and telecom operators, it seems that risk online has increased as well. At the moment, crucial fields like education are under transition, but researchers have warned against potential risks.
According to CONCERT (National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team and Coordination Center of China), “More businesses in traditional -industries are accelerating their digital transformation by using remote working technologies to ensure business continuity, resulting in a spike in cyber-threats arising from data leakage, phishing scams, ransomware, and internet frauds.”
The firm is a Chinese government cybersecurity agency that believes that remote working apps, online medical consultations, and e-learning systems could potentially harbour various risks, like hackers that could exploit vulnerabilities. Examples of this occurring is already here as online educational platforms have been suffering from DDoS attacks (Distributed denial-of-service) ever since the COVID-19 lockdowns began. This even goes as far back in January 2020.
These DDoS attacks essentially crash the server since it bombards the system with a massive number of requests. Similarly, phishing attacks are another attempt through which hackers try and gain access to sensitive data. These may be in the form of usernames, passwords, or even credit card details and can be made through communications online like fraud emails.
An example of an organized hacker group is DarkHotel. This East Asia based group has already attempted to break into the World Health Organization’s (WHO) internal system. Furthermore, they are also responsible for coordinated cyber espionage campaigns against various Chinese agencies and their diplomatic mission through VPNs (a virtual private network).