Insight

Current cyber threat implications of COVID-19

Additional steps recommended to guard against cyber threats

Kyle Kappel

Kyle Kappel

Principal, Cyber Security, KPMG US

+1 949-431-7359

Ed Goings

Ed Goings

Principal, Cyber Security, KPMG US

+1 312-665-2551

Exploiting the uncertainty of COVID-19 and the huge increase in employees working remotely, cyber threat actors and organized criminals have found new opportunities to attack organizations and gain sensitive information.

Many bad actors have been using COVID-19-themed spear-phishing campaigns to crack organizations’ security walls. These campaigns fall into three general categories:

  1. Personal information: Cyber criminals seek personal information in exchange for information about stimulus checks, loan abatements, refunds, and other types of economic relief.
  2. Fraud: These include fake emails from a bank or brokerage to move money to a different account, fake charities, fake cures, counterfeit testing kits, or phony personal protective equipment.
  3. e-Commerce: Fraudsters are hiding in the exponential increase in volume in e-commerce to perpetrate phishing schemes around takeovers of dormant accounts and return/refund/replacement fraud.

These schemes aim to trick individuals to click malicious links.

Other cybercriminals are attacking unpatched vulnerabilities in virtual private network (VPN) services to facilitate deployment of malware. However, organizations can take a number of steps to keep their information and employees safe.

  • Remind workers not to click on emails and attachments from unknown sources
  • Beware of transaction or information requests from perceived “trusted” sources
  • Update security settings and configurations for remote access
  • Remind staff of approved cloud-based services and the expectations for appropriate use.

KPMG’s recent publication, Current cyber threat implications of COVID-19, provides additional information about the types of phishing campaigns hackers are using and offers additional steps KPMG Cyber Services is recommending to guard against cyber threats.

Please consider reviewing this paper and other KPMG COVID-19 materials available on our COVID-19 resource page.