Google blocking 18m coronavirus scam emails every day

Google blocking 18m coronavirus scam emails every day

Google blocking 18m coronavirus scam emails every day

Fraudsters send 18 million deceptive emails about COVID-19 to Gmail users every day, according to Google.

The tech giant claims that the pandemic has led to an explosion of phishing attacks in which criminals try to trick users into disclosing personal data.

The company said it blocked over 100 million phishing emails per day. During the past week, almost a fifth was made up of scam emails related to coronavirus.

The virus may now be the biggest phishing topic ever, tech companies say.

Google’s Gmail is used by 1.5 billion people.

A smartphone with the Gmail logo

Copyright of the image / Getty Images

One of the scam emails personifies the World Health Organization

A wide variety of emails are sent to individuals impersonating authorities, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), in an attempt to persuade victims to download software or donate to bogus causes.

Cybercriminals are also attempting to capitalize on government support packages by imitating public institutions.

Google claims that its machine learning tools are able to prevent over 99.9% of emails from reaching their users.

This scam has targeted businesses on Gmail

The growth of coronavirus-themed phishing has been reported by several cyber-security companies.

Barracuda Networks said it saw a 667% increase in harmful phishing emails during the pandemic.

Fraudsters sent fake emails and text messages claiming to be from the UK government, WHO, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and even individual U.S. officials, including President Trump.

“Phishing attacks always share the common trait of inciting or depending on an emotion that makes us act faster or think less about our actions at the time,” said independent researcher Scott Helme.

“The coronavirus pandemic is a highly emotional topic right now and cyber criminals know this clearly. They hope the typical person may be more likely to click on links or follow bad instructions if they use this bait.”

‘Exploitation’

The researchers also found malicious websites and smartphone applications based on genuine coronavirus resources.

A malicious Android app claims to help track the spread of the virus, but instead infects the phone with ransomware and requests payment to restore the device.

Last week, the National Cyber ​​Security Center and the United States Department of National Security published joint advice.

They said they saw “an increasing number of evil cyber-actors” who were “exploiting the current Covid-19 pandemic for their own purposes”.

The NCSC has published advice on its website to help people avoid becoming victims of a scam.

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