Irish cybersecurity firm warns of online traps during Covid-19 lockdown
A multi-million euro PPE scam is the latest example of the efforts that can be made by some to try and turn pandemic concerns to their advantage, according to Irish cybersecurity firm, Smarttech247.
Gardai revealed yesterday they were involved in the investigation into an alleged fraud relating to the supply of nearly €15m euro worth of face masks, which should have been destined for health authorities in Germany. Unbeknownst to the buyers, they were victims of what’s been described as a ‘sophisticated’ scam, and were never going to receive the PPE.
General Manager of Smarttech247, Raluca Saceanu says this is the latest example of concerns around a major public issue being turned into an opportunity for unscrupulous players online. “Developments around Coronavirus are happening so fast around the world it can be so difficult to keep up. Scammers know that we’re all under pressure to keep on top of things and they’re simply waiting to catch us out.
"At Smarttech247 we always urge extreme vigilance around any large payment. We’d recommend implementing a two-step verification process as official policy, including ideally making contact verbally over the phone/on-screen link-up with the payee, to address any security concerns they may have."
Earlier this week, Smarttech247 revealed how their expert teams uncovered dark web discussion forums where hackers traded tips on how to exploit consumer efforts to keep safe during the pandemic. Some posters recommended scammers operate ‘carding’ fraud to steal money from prepaid cards, because consumers are using their credit and debit cards to cut down on handling cash. They even offered discounts to each other on some of the equipment used in this type of crime.
Raluca Saceanu says “In the same way the public is adjusting to a new way of working, cybercriminals are tailoring their business models to make the most of this worrying time around the world. Smarttech247 urges businesses in particular to re-examine their policies for trading online, ensure they meet best practice guidelines and commit to following those policies for every single transaction."
On April 23 at 1pm, the ethical hackers at Smarttech247 will host a webinar Q & A to give an insight into how cyberattacks are performed, what goes on inside the dark web and how cybercriminals are attempting to capitalise on fear and uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’d like more information or to register, please go to smarttech247.com.