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  • Ramesh Mohite

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC [COVID-19] BASED CYBER ATTACKS


Novel Coronavirus, originated in December 2019 is a viral disease spread

worldwide.


It has been reported that Threat Actors are using the COVID-19 pandemic as

a cyberattack vector for their own notorious gains.


Cyber criminals are taking advantage of victims increased craving for

information about the Novel Coronavirus due to fear and uncertainity

associated with it as the outbreak of the disease is progressing worldwide.



ATTACK STAGES-


PRIMARY SET OF ATTACKS:


The Threat actors employed references related to COVID-19 in phishing

attacks to steal information and drop additional malware.


TACTICS AND ATTACK PROCEDURES INVOLVED POST INITIAL PHASE OF ATTACKS:


Threat actors devise following new strategies to target victims with scams

or malware campaigns:


Use of Legitimate corporate branding in the name of COVID-19 to send

malware to victims

Using names of trusted organizations in phishing attacks in order to attain

credibility and to lure victims to further open attachment

Using promotional code

Coronavirus Maps

"COVID19" as discount codes used by different hacking groups to promote

their goods (malicious malware or exploit tools) for financial gain sold

over dark net

Trojan being delivered via Android app that lures victims offering

Coronavirus safety mask upon installation.

Coronavirus tracker App that takes away access of android microphone and

camera once installed.


MALWARE FAMILIES RELATED TO COVID-19:

AGENT TESLA

TRICKBOT

LOKIBOT

EMOTET

TRICKYMOUSE

VICIOUS PANDA CAMPAIGN

AZORULT

CRIMSON RAT

COVIDLOCK


Best Practice and Recommendations

The majority of the infections are primarily introduced via phishing

emails, malicious adverts on websites, and third-party apps and programs.

Hence, thoughtfully designed security awareness campaigns that stress the

avoidance of clicking on links and attachments in email, can establish an

essential pillar of defense.

Allow remote access to the organization's network strictly with two-factor

authentication.

Systems having antivirus and a malware protection program on it and making

sure they are always up to date with latest signatures.

Administrators applying strict application whitelisting, blocking unused

ports, turning off unused services, and monitoring outgoing traffic to

prevent infections from occurring.

Checking all services and devices for remote access for updates of firmware

and security patches. Internet-facing open ports of remote-control services

are a key target for attacks.

Disable use of Macros in Microsoft office. COVID-19 used VBA Macros as an

initial step for targeting victims.

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