23 APRIL 2020: Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organisation WHO has seen a dramatic increase in the number of cybercrimes. In the last few months the email addresses and passwords of over 450 WHO officials including the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and WHO envoy Bruce Aylward, who led a Covid-19 response team in China have been leaked online along with thousands of others working on the novel coronavirus response. Similarly, the hackers have leaked passwords of 2000 employees who have access to confidential WHO information.
The result is that it is now possible for scammers impersonating as WHO officials to send emails to the general public to channelize donations to a fictitious fund which are not connected with the authentic COVID-19 Response Fund.
JUNE 2020: Japanese carmaker Honda reported a massive cyber-attack that that virtually brought its worldwide operations to a standstill. The problem affected its ability to access its computer servers, email and internal systems. Even the production systems outside Japan were affected.
“Honda can confirm that a cyber-attack has taken place in the Honda network”, this is all that Honda said in a statement while trying to minimize the impact and restore full functionality of production, sales and business development.
Honda confirmed that the virus had spread throughout its network and affected the functioning of the company’s plants in the UK, North America, Turkey, Italy and Japan. But, said no more.
The incidence put Honda’s production on hold and factory workers had to be sent home due to disruption of their manufacturing systems. Significantly Honda employs nearly 220,000 people worldwide across more than 400 group affiliate companies.
It is not known how the criminals penetrated Honda’s computer system but there are reasons to believe that cyber-attacks called “ransomware” are on the rise and hackers are luring victims to download booby-trapped documents and files.
All this is just a tip of the iceberg. An increasing number of cases are being reported today, where hackers are trying to attack the servers of government and large companies to access confidential and medical information before demanding ransom.
There has been a spike in reports of cybercrimes – since the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic according to sources in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
According to FBI officials, the number of reports has quadrupled compared to the immediate past – just months before the pandemic.
Whereas earlier the FBI was receiving about 1,000 complaints per day through their internet portal, they’re now receiving something like 3,000 – 4,000 complaints a day. Though each of these is not COVID-related, a good number of them are.
According to sources though cybercrimes used to happen even before, their number has gone up drastically since many companies have introduced work from home protocol due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This has brought about a major change in the way people work. This has made it easier for the cybercriminals to target and penetrate the personal devices which have negligible or non-existent security.
One reason behind this is that individual workers are taking company info back home with them and using devices with weaker security features to perform their jobs.