Coronavirus-related scams rack up $12 million


Scammers have raked in about $12 million running Coronavirus-related scams, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said this week.

About 46.5 percent of the 16,778 fraud complaints logged from Jan. 1 to April 12 reported a monetary loss, the commission’s report found.

“Cybercriminals are now aggressively exploiting our overall unreadiness for the Covid-19 crisis, profiteering from the unprecedented technical susceptibility of the victims,” said Ilia Kolochenko, who called the crime spate the tip of the iceberg. “Working from home, operations disrupted by digital transformation and shortage of security personnel have introduced a wide spectrum of cybersecurity challenges to already overburdened security teams.”

Kolochenko anticipates “a steady growth of coronavirus-related scams and fraud in 2020, spanning from pretty trivial phishing campaigns to well thought out APTs targeting large companies and the public sector,” noting that “shadow IT and unclear visibility of external attack surface exacerbate the situation and provide cybercriminals with low-hanging fruit."

Attackers will step up campaigns against third parties like vendors and suppliers, “bringing even more challenges to the threat landscape,” he said.

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