The spread of misinformation about COVID-19 online is becoming its own epidemic, and cybersecurity analysts say they’re seeing phishing cons and other digital scams skyrocket, built upon the latest myths or hot topic.
That includes medications being floated as potential treatments.
“We’ve got understand there are bad actors out there who want to take advantage of and are praying or fear and we want to make sure that we protect ourselves," said Bob Maley, chief security officer for cybersecurity company Normshield.
Maley said in the last few months they’ve identified 362 fraudulent internet sites that contain references to or the exact names of medicines that are being investigated as possible treatments for COVID-19. Medications names like chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, drugs that have been discussed often in the news and by world leaders, but have not yet been fully tested or approved to treat the virus.
“People are afraid, Maley said. "And when people are afraid they’re looking for hope, they’re looking for solutions, and if they’ve heard in the press if there’s a possible solution and they can go and buy it online without having to see a doctor...that’s what the bad actors are hoping for. They’re looking for people to do that.”
Maley said you should avoid purchasing anything on a website you’re not familiar with, especially if it’s a product claiming to protect against or treat coronavirus.
You can read Normshield's report HERE.
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