Alert Priority MODERATE: Continued widespread reports of COVID-19 malicious scams

Alert Priority MODERATE: Continued widespread reports of COVID-19 malicious scams
20 April 2020   What’s happened? The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is aware of a significant increase in Australians being targeted with COVID-19 themed scams, fraud attempts and deceptive email schemes.   Cybercrime actors are pivoting their online criminal methods to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic. On average each month, the ACSC receives about 4,400 cybercrime reports through ReportCyber, and responds to 168 cyber security incidents.   Since 10 March 2020, the ACSC has: Received more than 95 cybercrime reports (approximately two per day) about Australians losing money or personal information to COVID-19 themed scams and online frauds; Responded to 20 cyber security incidents affecting COVID-19 response services and/or major national suppliers in the current climate; and Disrupted over 150 malicious COVID-19 themed websites, with assistance from Australia’s major telecommunications providers, as well as Google and Microsoft. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch has received over 1,100 reports about COVID-19 themed scams from individuals and businesses losing money or personal information to and online frauds across Australia.   These phishing campaigns are often sophisticated, with cybercriminals aligning malicious activities within days – sometimes even within hours – of Government announcements such as relief payments or public health guidance. They prey on people’s desire for information, imitating trusted and well-known organisations or government agencies.

Visiting these fake websites or clicking on malicious links may automatically install computer viruses or malware onto your device, giving cyber criminals the ability to steal your financial and personal information.   These scams have continued to increase over the past month and the ACSC strongly encourages organisations and individuals to remain alert and follow advice on how to protect yourself and your business. 
Read the ACSC’s threat report for examples on what to look out for and practical cyber security advice that organisations and individuals can follow to reduce the risk of harm.     CTB|Read the COVID-19 threat report  Rectangle: Rounded Corners: Read the COVID-19 threat report     More information The ACSC has published a range of information about COVID-19 related malicious activity, as well as guidance on securing remote working and video conferencing. For more information, please visit:
  If you’ve suffered financial loss from cybercrime, report it to ReportCyber at  
To stay up to date on the latest online threats and how to respond, sign up to the Stay Smart Online Alert Service,
More advice and support is available on our Get help page or through our government partners, such as ACCCeSafety and OAIC, for more valuable support, tips and resources during COVID-19.  
For information on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit //          The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone’s circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.   Feedback
Thank you to those subscribers who have provided feedback to our Alerts and Newsletters. We are very interested in your feedback and where possible take on board your suggestions or requests.    
This information has been prepared by the ACSC. It was accurate and up to date at the time of publishing.
This information is general information only and is intended for use by private individuals and small to medium sized businesses. If you are concerned about a specific cyber security issue you should seek professional advice.
The Commonwealth and all other persons associated with this advisory accept no liability for any damage, loss or expense incurred as a result of the provision of this information, whether by way of negligence or otherwise.
Nothing in this information (including the listing of a person or organisation or links to other web sites) should be taken as an endorsement of a particular product or service.
Please note that third party views or recommendations included in this information do not reflect the views of the Commonwealth, or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action. The Commonwealth also cannot verify the accuracy of any third party material included in this information.  

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