Google blocking 18m coronavirus scam emails every day

Google blocking 18m coronavirus scam emails every day1
Google blocking 18m coronavirus scam emails every day
3 Min Read

Daily US Times: Google says, scammers are sending 18 million fake or scam mails about Covid-19 to Gmail users every day.

The US tech giants says the current coronavirus pandemic has led to an explosion of phishing attacks in which criminals try to trick users into revealing personal data.

It said it was blocking more than 100 million phishing emails a day. Over the past week, almost a fifth were scam emails related to coronavirus. Almost 1.5 billion people across the world are using Google’s Gmail.

Gmail users are being sent a huge variety of emails which impersonate authorities like the World Health Organization (WHO), in an effort to persuade victims to download software or donate to bogus causes.

Cyber-criminals are also attempting to capitalise on government support packages by imitating public institutions.

Google claims that it is able to block more than 99.9% of emails from reaching its users, thanks to its machine-learning tools.

One of the scam emails impersonates the World Health Organization

Several cyber-security companies are recording the growth in coronavirus-themed phishing. Barracuda Networks said it had seen a 667% increase in malicious phishing emails during the global coronavirus outbreak.

Scammers have been sending fake emails and text messages claiming to be from the WHO, the UK government, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and even President Donald Trump.

Independent security researcher Scott Helme said: “Phishing attacks always share the common trait of inciting or depending on an emotion that causes us to act more hastily or think less about our actions at that moment in time.”

“The coronavirus pandemic is a highly emotional topic right now and cyber-criminals clearly know this,” he said, adding that the typical person might be more inclined to click through links or follow bad instructions.

Researchers have also found malicious smartphone applications and websites based on genuine coronavirus resources.

One such malicious Android app claims to help track the spread of the virus but instead infects the phone with ransomware and demands payment to restore the device.

The US Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Centre issued a joint advisory last week, where they said they had seen “an increasing number of malicious cyber-actors” that were “exploiting the current Covid-19 pandemic for their own objectives”.

The NCSC has published advice on its website to help people avoid becoming the victim of scams like these.