The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has issued an advisory that warns online education and remote work platforms of an increase in cyberattacks as more public and private organizations rely on virtual tools because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of March 30, 2020, the IC3 had reviewed more than 1,200 complaints related to COVID-19 scams. Recent weeks have seen phishing campaigns against first responders, distributed denial-of-service attacks against government agencies, ransomware attacks targeting healthcare institutions, and fake COVID-19 websites that download malware onto victim devices when accessed, officials report. They anticipate the same attack groups will target remote employees and education technology platforms, and come up with new business email compromise (BEC) scams, as the pandemic spreads.
Rapid adoption of edtech platforms may compromise students’ privacy and security if activity isn’t monitored, the IC3 warns. Because children may not realize the danger of visiting unknown websites or chatting with strangers, caretakers should be aware of new technology students are issued.
The FBI advises employees to “carefully consider” the applications they use for video conferencing software, VoIP conference call systems, and other telework applications. COVID-19 has led to more businesses communicating online, and cybercriminals are looking for ways to exploit telework software vulnerabilities so they can access data or drop in on conference calls. Officials specifically warn of software from untrusted sources, communication tools, remote desktop access, and the supply chain as different avenues for exploiting remote work.
Regarding BEC, the IC3 warns everyone to be on the lookout for urgent or last-minute changes to wire transfers, last-minute changes in communication platforms or email addresses, refusal to communicate over the phone, or requests to change direct deposit information.
Read the official FBI Public Service Announcement here.