Klaus Schenk
Klaus Schenk
Mar 31, 2020

 

The coronavirus pandemic has changed life dramatically. For many, it has created an uncertainty and fear for our health, wellbeing and economic future. In reaction to this new reality, much of the global population is banding together in solidarity, assisting others when they can and generally creating a sense of openness and support.

Unfortunately, today’s unique combination of supportiveness, fear and fast technical changes to how we work and live has created a breeding ground for criminals who seek to exploit these challenging times. Of course we see old-school attacks trying to rip off consumers and companies by taking advantage of surgical masks concealing their identities during robberies, etc. More worryingly, the pandemic we’re facing seems to be the perfect storm for cybercriminals to exploit people when they are at their most vulnerable.

 

Take a look at a few key reasons cyber bad guys thrive in a pandemic scenario:

  • The speed of the shift to teleworking – Our professional lives are being hastily shifted to our homes – and there is little chance that our homes offer the same level of data protections typically found in corporate offices.
     
  • The remote and international nature of the threat – Cybercrooks are used to working from afar. Their “professions” aren’t hampered in the least by government-mandated quarantines or strict travel restrictions between states, countries and continents.
     
  • Blending more personal vulnerability with company data – People are at home more. That means they’re also using and consuming more personal services; and so their personal data - that would otherwise by more idle while they would be at work – is being transmitted and processed in much higher volumes. That creates much more opportunity to fall victim.
     
  • Observed spikes in malicious activity right out of the gates – Market observations from Check Point show they’re tracking suspicious domain registrations and consistently malicious talk among known criminals.

 

Though the largest reason the coronavirus has created an opportunity for criminals is due to a large percentage of the planet’s population are desperate for information. We all want to know what is happening, when it will end and how to keep ourselves safe. This creates the perfect storm for criminals to rollout their tried and testing psychological attacks. Just take a look at the most recent press coverage of pandemic-related attacks abound:

  • The Hopkins Institute has been become a trusted source of coronavirus tracking information. Therefore, it is not surprising that one of the most visited web pages at the moment is a cloned version to spread ransomware.
  • A variety of programs and apps claiming to provide help against or for dealing with the coronavirus are published with criminal intent.
  • Apps allegedly featuring coronavirus maps turn out to be banking trojans.
  • Scams and phishing are on a noticeable upswing and require companies to put in place 24/7 teams to help to protect their customers.

Demonstrating that criminal endeavors are businesses too, with employees and a focus on generating profit, it is ironic that there are reports of pirate TV offerings closing down because their staff have become infected, or because they could not handle the sudden increased load from at-home consumers worldwide.

In fact, the higher-performing infrastructure at legal Pay TV offerings actually enables them to gain market share from pirated offerings because of their better service that is appreciated over prolonged periods of time. Still, pirate TV offerings try to significantly increase marketing, reduce prices and even find alternative ways for coronavirus-related revenue, such as this site asking for help to get an alleged corona quick test into the country by trying to place public pressure on customs

“In additional to straining our physical and mental well-being, this pandemic – and those trying to take advantage of it -- are pushing security health to the limits” said Neal Michie, product manager at Verimatrix. “It’s important that businesses maintain focus on cybersecurity prevention and protection in these uncertain times.”

Due to the sudden nature of the situation, protections must be simple to implement at home. Otherwise, misconfigured security can often be as terrible as no security at all. User retention is dependent on a consistently positive user experience – whether it’s logging on or off, changing access methods or changing devices– it’s all important to the user.

We encourage you to take a few minutes and learn about Verimatrix’s proven suite of Software Shielding solutions, including Code Protection, Whitebox and ProtectMyApp. Our award-winning technologies are relied upon by developers around the globe to powerfully protect against hijacking, tampering and cloning while also benefiting from cloud-based monitoring that keeps apps safe throughout their lifecycle. Additionally, our Password-Less Authentication manages users’ credentials without the risk of passwords falling into the hands of criminals. And if you’re looking to make life a bit easier during self-quarantines with a protected TV offering, Verimatrix’s cloud-based VCAS solutions can spin up  protected IPTV and OTT solutions fast and easily with a low initial investment.