Malicious actors are taking advantage of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. COVID-19 related phishing activity has increased 667% globally since the end of February. Please exercise extreme caution when opening emails related to COVID-19.
The four main types of phishing messages related to COVID-19 are scams, brand impersonation, blackmail and messages coming from compromised email accounts. The main themes of the phishing emails are:
- Disease Centre Alerts
- Threats to infect loved ones w/COVID-19 if ransom not paid
- False claims of COVID-19 infection w/malicious attachments
- Information on the Spread of Coronavirus
- Expert Protection Advice
- Analysis on the impacts to economy sectors and other areas
- Offers to invest in “cures”, vaccines, wonder medicines, protection products
- “Interesting” facts/videos about the disease
- Strong statements on the “origin” of the virus
- Government’s management of COVID-19 situation
It is expected that recent relief announcements (child care subsidies, mortgage payment deferrals, etc.) from the Federal and Provincial Governments will be used to develop additional phishing themes and phishing attempts are expected to increase.
Please exercise caution and DO NOT open attachments or click on links in emails from unknown senders. Mobile device users are asked to be especially cautious of email attachments and links.
Please do not share any account information or passwords with anyone, even if the request appears to be coming from a trusted source.