COVID-19 and Cyber Threats

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Important information regarding COVID-19 and cyber threats.

Malicious actors are launching cyber attacks capitalizing on the global concern over COVID-19. Email and social media-based phishing scams referencing the virus (or cure) attempt to convince recipients to:

• open links or attachments
• direct users to malicious websites or deliver malware
• reply to solicitations for sensitive information
• or donate to fraudulent causes

Security researchers found that coronavirus-themed websites are 50 percent more likely to be malicious than other domains; over 4,000 coronavirus-related domains have been registered since January 2020. Malicious websites purporting to be the live map for COVID-19 global cases run by Johns Hopkins University are circulating. These websites infect site visitors.  Researchers believe the website is being spread via infected email attachments, malicious advertisements, and social engineering.  Over the last week, we have noted a significant uptick in malicious coronavirus-themed emails targeting State of New Jersey employees.  We recommend that users remain vigilant and exercise caution with coronavirus-themed emails, posts, and links, ensuring to only use trusted sources – such as official government websites – for information on COVID-19.

NJCCIC provides public advisories and a site featuring cybersecurity resources. See the links below:

  1. VTC Platforms, Such as Zoom, Increasingly Targeted by Threat Actors
  2. Cyber Threats & Cybersecurity for Healthcare During COVID-19
  3. COVID-19 Cybersecurity Resources

Suspicious (phishing) emails should be reported to phishing@stockton.edu.
If you suspect that you are being targeted by a cyber-attacker, please contact information.security@stockton.edu

Please refer to the official University site for localized updates related to the coronavirus.

https://stockton.edu/emergency-management/coronavirus.html

Known to be safe online resources

Official John’s Hopkins University Live Threat Map
An interactive map outlining confirmed cases worldwide
https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html  

CISA: Defending Against COVID-19 Cyber Scams
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/current-activity/2020/03/06/defending-against-covid-19-cyber-scams 

CDC: Coronavirus Situation Summary
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html 

WHO: Coronavirus Information
World Health Organization
https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus  

References

Live Coronavirus Map Used to Spread Malware
https://krebsonsecurity.com/2020/03/live-coronavirus-map-used-to-spread-malware/

Coronavirus sparks phishing, disinformation, tabletop exercises and handwashing
https://www.scmagazine.com/home/security-news/coronavirus-sparks-phishing-disinformation-tabletop-exercises-and-handwashing/