Check Point regional director for Africa, Pankaj Bhula, said, “In the cyber world, where there is money, there will be criminal activity.”

Cyberattackers are taking advantage of the stimulus packages released by governments to support businesses and individuals during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to multinational cybersecurity provider Check Point, hackers and threat actors want to cash in on the rush to fill their own pockets and the expense of others.

Cyberattackers are evolving the scam and phishing techniques they have been using successfully since the start of the pandemic earlier this year.

According to Check Point, Google noted that in just one week from 6 to 13 April, it saw more than 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Check Point regional director for Africa Pankaj Bhula said, “In the cyber world, where there is money, there will be criminal activity.

“As economic stimulus payments start to flow, cyberattackers want to get their share too.”

Check Point noted emails with malicious attachments being sent with subjects such as ‘RE: UN COVID-19 Stimulus’ or ‘COVID-19 Payment’.

Check Point said that 94 percent of coronavirus-related attacks during the last two weeks were phishing attacks and three percent were mobile attacks.

Bhula explained that scam websites use the news of the coronavirus financial incentives and fears related to the virus to trick people into using the websites or clicking on links.

“Users that visit these malicious domains instead of official government websites risk having their personal information stolen and exposed, or payment theft and fraud. We strongly urge citizens to beware of lookalike domains and be extra cautious when receiving emails from unknown senders,” said Bhula.

Check Point advised the following to protect the public:

  1. Beware of lookalike domains. Watch for spelling errors in emails or websites and unfamiliar senders.
  2. Be cautious with files received via email from unknown senders. Look especially for if they prompt for a certain action you would not usually do.
  3. Ensure you are ordering goods from an authentic source. Do not click on promotional links in emails but instead Google your desired retailer and click the link from the Google results page.
  4. Beware of ‘special offers’. At this time, there is no cure for the coronavirus, and if there was it would not be offered to you via email.
  5. Do not reuse passwords.

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