Tackling the Cybersecurity Impacts of the Coronavirus Outbreak as a Challenge to Internet Safety
Research Paper By Kenneth Okereafor, PhD; Olajide Adebola
As more and more business and education institutes shutter their doors against the coronavirus pandemic, the whole global community is exposed more dependence on the digital world. Work from home, learn from home and care from home is getting a very strong foothold globally. It is also high time for cyber attackers to prey on our increased reliance on digital tools and the uncertainty of the contagious virus. The attackers are cashing in on human desperation to deceive Internet users and distribute harmful software.
This research paper focuses on social engineering where victims are tricked by carefully crafted website or messages that exploiting human psychological weakness like curiosity. Coronavirus malware, spam emails, fake coronavirus website and online portals are prevalent in the digital world.
“The social engineering aspect of the coronavirus pertains to the exploitation of people’s fears of infection to spread dubious health advice, malware and other cyber threats. People are anxious to learn how to avoid contacting the virus as well as desperate for new of a possible containment of the spreading outbreak. This anxiety leads to an unusual clinging to the digital systems to know more about the situation. As a result, any message that carries the connotation of coronavirus receives easy attention including spam emails, fake websites and malicious attachments which Internet fraudsters use to steal information through deception and falsehood.”
At the end of the paper, it has some basic recommendations for maintaining online safety:
- Test commercial websites before making payments
- Be vigilant with spam emails
- Install an effective anti-malware software
- Keep a good social engineering vigilance and cyber awareness
- Avoid opening suspicious attachments
- Avoid clicking on questionable web addresses and URLs
- Keep a functional backup of data
- Verify information source
- Fine-tune digital readiness
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