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Home>Security>Terrorism>Interpol launches awareness campaign focused on COVID-19 cyber threats

Interpol launches awareness campaign focused on COVID-19 cyber threats

08 May 2020

IN RESPONSE to the rapidly changing cyber crime landscape during the COVID-19 pandemic, the global law enforcement and cyber security communities have formed an alliance to protect the public. Harnessing the expertise of this alliance, Interpol has launched a global awareness campaign to keep communities safe from the cyber criminals.

The key message of the campaign, which focuses on alerting the public to the key cyber threats linked to the Coronavirus pandemic, is to #WashYourCyberHands to promote good cyber hygiene.

The campaign will focus on social media outreach, highlighting the top threats that Interpol has identified based on the data collected from its member countries, private industry partners, national cyber security agencies and online information-sharing groups.

Analysis of this data has confirmed that cyber criminals are capitalising on the anxiety caused by COVID-19 through various cyber attacks such as data-harvesting malware, ransomware, online scams and phishing.

Threats targeting people working from home during the global lockdowns will also be addressed, along with prevention tips for companies.

Basic cyber hygiene advice – how to ‘wash your cyber hands’ – will be provided throughout the four-week campaign (which runs from 4-31 May) to ensure that individuals and businesses alike are equipped with the knowledge necessary to protect their systems and data.

Law enforcement agencies around the world and key global cyber security actors will share the messages of the campaign to reach the widest possible global audience.

Targeted cyber attacks

Craig Jones, Interpol’s director of cyber crime, has said that the police and the cyber security industry have seen a considerable increase in the number of targeted cyber attacks by criminals since the virus outbreak began. These range from malicious web domains using the word ‘COVID’ through to phishing e-mails promising the sale of key supplies as well as ransomware attacks against critical infrastructure and hospitals.

“Cyber criminals are diversifying attack vectors to launch cyber attacks exploiting the COVID-19 outbreak,” explained Jones. “These cyber threats are causing serious harm to people and organisations, which only serves to exacerbate an already dire situation in the physical world. Now is the time when we must all come together to stop them.”

Jones added: “Cyber crime and cyber security may seem like a complex issue that's difficult to understand unless you're an expert in the field, but this is not the case. Interpol’s campaign aims to demystify these cyber threats and offer simple and concrete steps which everybody can take to protect themselves.”

The campaign kicked off with the publication of a document on the ‘Global Landscape on the COVID-19 Cyber Threats’ which outlines the latest threats identified, expected future trends and Interpols response.