Here are some of the COVID-19 cyber scams to watch out for - ARNnet

Here are some of the COVID-19 cyber scams to watch out for - ARNnet

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The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has released the details of some of the cyber scams doing the rounds across the country, with the centre receiving no fewer than 45 incident reports involving COVID-19 in the past two weeks alone. 


“Since early March 2020, there has been a significant increase in COVID-19 themed malicious cyber activity across Australia,” the ACSC said in a post, dated 27 March. “The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s [ACCC] Scamwatch has received more than 100 reports of scams about COVID-19 in the last three months, and the volumes continue to rise. 


“Between 10 and 26 March, the ACSC has received over 45 cybercrime and cyber security incident reports from individuals and businesses, all related to COVID-19 themed scam and phishing activity. The true extent of this malicious activity is likely to be much higher, as these numbers only represent those cases reported to the ACSC and ACCC,” it added.

Among the scams the ACSC has been made aware of is a COVID-19 relief payment scam involving a phishing email that offers recipients $2,500 in COVID-19 assistance payments if they complete an attached application form. 


According to the ACSC, the attachment contains an embedded macro that downloads malicious software onto the recipient's device. This is just one of many such scams hitting Aussie inboxes.


Credit: Australian Cyber Security Centre

Indeed, there are a number of other COVID-19 phishing emails containing malicious attachments doing the rounds, with the ACSC receiving reports of COVID-19 phishing emails that have malicious Word documents or other attachments containing embedded computer viruses.


In one example noted by the ACSC, a phishing email pretends to originate from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and invites the recipient to open the attachment for advice on safety measures to prevent the ..