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COVID-19 Cyber Crime – Are You Safe?

Cyber attacks can happen on a daily basis. Whether you are on a personal PC or a business computer, cyber attacks are a risk for all networks and can be a serious breach of privacy, personal data and commercially sensitive information.

“Cybercrime is the greatest threat to every company in the world.” – IBM’s chairman, president and CEO.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a vast increase in cyber security breaches, more specifically on email platforms. Be aware that your email Cloud Solutions, such as Office 365, still need a high-level of security, which is often overlooked from many users.


What are the Different Types of Email Threats?

There are a few different types of email threats that email users should always be aware of. Some can be more severe than others, however, under most circumstances, users will want to protect their emails from any kind of negative threat. We have put together a list of the top 3 main threats below:


  1. Phishing

Phishing is where an attack happens from a hacker who impersonates a trusted figure, including trusted businesses and people. Moreover, phishing hackers usually tend to use emails as their main communication channel.

By impersonations from hackers, phishing attacks usually contain information such as a logo, address, and contact information in the same style and format that the legitimate business would use to send their emails. Therefore, the recipient would be made to believe that this is from a reputable source, uploading personal information such as logins, bank details, or to open an attachment which contains a virus.

A recent report from APWG states that “The number of phishing sites detected in the first quarter of 2020 was 165,772, up from the 162,155 observed in the fourth quarter of 2019.”


  1. Spam

The second most common email threat is spam. Spam is not necessarily a severe threat on the face of an email, however, they can pose a serious risk to your personal data.

One element of spam is known as ‘email bombing’. This is where hackers bombard the recipient with vast amounts of emails; the majority of them being confirmation emails. Once a hacker has an email address, they will then run a script to sign that recipient up to a range of unprotected sites, which could contain a lot of viruses. And as a result, leaves the recipient in a vulnerable situation where their security is breached.


  1. Viruses

Viruses are the third type of severe email threat recipients receive. They can be accompanied by both spam and phishing, and could end in the result of a recipient being extremely vulnerable to their personal data being breached.

A virus is a type of program which is designed to infiltrate a computer system by adding codes called a ‘payload’. Techopedia defines a payload as malicious codes which contain data destruction, offensive messages and delivery of spam emails through a recipient’s email address.


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How has COVID-19 Helped Cyber Attackers?

Over the COVID-19 pandemic period, it has been a lot easier for hackers to target email recipients through many different methods, leaving a lot of people vulnerable to viruses and their personal data being stolen.

There have been a variety of emails during COVID-19, where hackers pose as legitimate, large corporations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO). Posing as these companies, hackers then ask the recipient to click on a link to find out more information or state there is an urgent update from “Government Officials”, on how to protect yourself from getting COVID-19, in the form of an attached file. As a result, recipients would therefore click on this attachment and end up downloading a virus onto their device.

Other types of emails which hackers have produced consists of content which ask recipients to purchase a COVID-19 test kit online from official public organisations such as the NHS, and therefore sending recipients to a faulty fraudulent page, which could result in users sending their personal banking details to purchase this test.

There have been a vast number of cases during the pandemic where users have been left extremely vulnerable for hackers to extract their personal information. Which as a result, is extremely important for any email user to be aware of, and the methods of prevention.


How Arc Systems can help with your Online Email Security

At Arc Systems, we proudly work alongside Mimecast who specialise in cloud-based email management for Microsoft Office 365. In addition to specialising in anti-spam and anti-virus protection, they also provide a range of other services to keep your emails safe.

Below are some of the services that Mimecast provide for Arc System customers:

  1. DNS Authentication services to address sender ‘spoofing’.

  2. Protection against impersonation attacks from senders.

  3. Protection against malicious URLs. These could either be phishing or malware drop sites.

  4. Prevention against the delivery of malicious attachments.

By Arc Systems partnering with Mimecast, it gives users the opportunity to stay safe and secure online with their emails. Our range of experienced consultants can discuss your requirements and the correct options you need to keep your data safe. But always remember, to think before you click and connect safely.