Google has blocked 18 million emails a day because of fake coronavirus news
The tech giant says the pandemic has led to an explosion of cyberattacks, in which criminals are trying to trick consumers into revealing personal information.The company said it was blocking more than 100 million “earning” emails a day. Last week, nearly one-fifth were fake emails related to the coronavirus. IT companies say the virus may be the biggest “hookup” topic ever.Google’s Gmail is used by more than 1.5 billion people.
People are sent a huge variety of emails that present themselves as information from the World Health Organization (WHO) in an attempt to persuade victims to download software or donate for false causes. Cybercriminals also seek to benefit from government support packages by mimicking public institutions. Google claims that its tools are able to block more than 99.9% of emails from reaching their users.
The rise in fake coronavirus news has been reported by several cybersecurity companies. Barracuda Networks said it has seen a 667% increase in malicious emails during the pandemic.
Fraudsters send fake emails and text messages claiming to be from the UK government, the WHO, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and even individual US officials, including President Trump.
“The coronavirus pandemic is a highly emotional issue right now, and cybercriminals are clearly aware of this. They hope the normal person may be more likely to follow links or follow bad instructions if they use this bait,” says independent security researcher Scott. Helm.
Researchers have also found malicious web sites and applications for smartphones based on true coronavirus resources.
A malicious Android application claims to help track the spread of the virus, but instead infects the phone and requires payment to restore the device.
Last week, the National Cybersecurity Center and the US Department of Homeland Security held a joint consultation.
They said that “an increasing number of malicious cyber actors” were “using the current COVID-19 pandemic for their own purposes.”