2020 Year of the Viral Scam

2020 Year of the Viral Scam: this year will be remembered for many things, in the tech world it will be remembered as the year of the viral scam.

2020 Year of the Viral Scam

From start to April 30 Canadians have reported 18803 fraud cases. The total for 2019 was 46,317 so we’re averaging a 1,000 more reports of fraud per month for 2020. Remember a lot of people are too embarrassed to report fraud so the numbers are probably much higher.

Most of the recent scams are related to COVID-19 and CERB cheques. You get most of the CERB scams via text message.  If you get a text message informing you to click here to deposit your Canada Emergency Relief Benefit, delete it immediately. More on CERB scams here.

Hackers have also exploited the Black Lives Matter movement to spread malware via email attachments.

Subject samples lines include:

Give YOUR Feedback anonymous about “Black Lives Matter”
Leave a review nameless about “Black Lives Matter”
Speak out confidentially about “Whose Lives Matter”
Tell your government your opinion nameless about “Whose Lives Matter”
Vote anonymous about “Black Lives Matter”

Hackers are definitely working the headlines.

Romance on the rise

May was the 20th anniversary of the infamous I Love You email virus. I remember the day when the multinational I was working for at the time got creamed by the virus. The email subject line said I Love You and came with an attachment that was a Visual Basic script. In those days Outlook would run a script without asking you. The script would send itself to everyone in your contacts (creating an email storm and massive network traffic spike) and also infect every .VBS, JavaScript, Jpeg and MP3 files on your computer. If you were lucky, your antivirus protected your files from being trashed but the Outlook storm was something else.

Could the I Love You bug work again? Not the code, but its premises still work. First, it exploited people’s need for love and attention (particularly at work). Second it exploited people’s curiosity overriding their fear of strange attachments. Third, the goal of the virus was to rip off the victims. None of that has changed in the last 20 years. More on the I Love You virus or LoveBug here.

What you need to know

Here’s link to an infographic on seven red flags of  phishing emails from GetCyberSafe.ca . Also a link to my work safe from home PDF.   Stay cybersafe this 2020.