Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Cybersecurity experts join forces to thwart coronavirus-related hacking

Updated Mar 29th, 2020 10:17PM EDT
Coronavirus Security
Image: Cultura/REX/Shutterstock

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

  • Coronavirus scams and hacking efforts are on the rise.
  • In response, more than 400 cybersecurity experts have joined forces to tackle the problem.
  • The group’s primary objective is to prevent hospitals from getting infected with ransomware.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

One of the more infuriating aspects involving the coronavirus pandemic is that hackers and scam artists have been trying to use the crisis to bilk innocent victims out of their hard-earned money. Especially at a time when unemployment is at an all-time high and many people are struggling to make ends meet, the fact that hackers are still going at it is beyond revolting.

Aside from run-of-the-mill scams involving scammers calling up people and offering fake coronavirus testing kits, there are also reports that cyberattacks in general, and phishing attempts in particular, have skyrocketed over the past few weeks. Some brazen folks have even engaged in phishing efforts by sending out emails designed to look as if they’re official notices from the World Health Organization. Even more problematic are attempts from hackers to install ransomware on hospital computer systems.

In light of all this, various groups of cybersecurity professionals from across the globe have started teaming up to better tackle coronavirus related hacking efforts. The umbrella group, which currently has more than 800 individuals, is called COVID-19 Cyber Threat Intelligence League and was founded by Ohad Zaidenberg, Nate Warfield, Chris Mills, and Marc Rogers — who is currently DEF CON’s head of security.

Reuters reports:

The group is also using its web of contacts in internet infrastructure providers to squash garden-variety phishing attacks and another financial crime that is using the fear of COVID-19 or the desire for information on it to trick regular internet users.

“I’ve never seen this volume of phishing,” Rogers said. “I am literally seeing phishing messages in every language known to man.”

Rogers adds that he’s never seen this level of cooperation between cybersecurity professionals before and that he hopes it endures even beyond the coronavirus pandemic.

Naturally, much of what the Cyber Threat Intelligence League does remains shrouded in mystery, but Rogers did disclose that the group was already successful in dismantling an active malware threat.

Broadly speaking, though, the group has said that its main priority is ensuring that hospitals and other health care centers don’t get hit with a ransomware attack. To this point, you might recall that a ransomware attack hit the Illinois Champaign-Urbana Public Health District website earlier this month.

“For CU Public Health, the attack was first discovered early last week when employees were unable to access system files,” Health IT Security noted. “The provider contacted the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, while working with a consulting firm to restore the website and investigate the scope of the incident.”

For any security professionals interested in applying, you can do so over here.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.