The Rise of Cyberattacks During the Pandemic

With the advent of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, there has been a large spike in global internet activity; be this from individuals having to self-isolate, kids out of school, or the masses of employees who are currently working from home. Sadly, this has lead to a monumental increase of cyberattacks from bad actors; hackers both professional and amateur, taking advantage of an event when we as people are reliant on the web more than ever. These have mostly taken the form of Phishing attacks. Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Phishing Scams are happening across all Social Media, Text and Email platforms. It’s hard to know what websites and shared links are safe and legitimate.

Here at SaferNet, we strive to make the Internet a more secure, safer environment. We offer a reliable and robust VPN (Virtual Private Network) that can be used on any device to supply complete protection against phishing scams, malicious attacks, assaults on your network, hacks, and much more. Now, its is more important than ever to protect yourself from digital scams, viruses, and malware. Below, we have outlined some of the most common types of Phishing attempts – What to know, what to look out for, and how to protect yourself.

Email Phishing


Most phishing attacks are sent by email. The crook will register a fake domain that mimics a genuine organization and sends thousands out thousands of generic requests. The fake domain often involves character substitution, like using ‘r’ and ‘n’ next to each other to create ‘rn’ instead of ‘m’. Alternatively, they might use the organization’s name in the local part of the email address (such as [email protected]) in the hopes that the sender’s name will simply appear as ‘PayPal’ in the recipient’s inbox.

At a time where many governments are planning on sending their citizens financial relief for those out of work during the Corona Pandemic, there has been an enormous spike in Email Phishing. Hackers pose as government officials, social security workers, and more to try get innocent people to part with their details. These attacks are extremely effective against those who are not tech savvy. There are many ways to spot a phishing email, including double-checking email addresses, but as the attacks become more sophisticated, these are getting harder to spot. One sure way to protect you, your employees, or your loved ones against getting duped is to use SaferNet. SaferNet will block all email phishing attempts. If the target opens the email, and accesses the link, SaferNet will target the link automatically and block it, ensuring your data remains in your hands.

Angler Phishing


A relatively new attack vector, social media offers a number of ways for criminals to trick people. Fake URLs; cloned websites, posts, and tweets; and instant messaging (which is essentially the same as smishing) can all be used to persuade people to divulge sensitive information or download malware. Alternatively, criminals can use the data that people willingly post on social media to create highly targeted attacks. In 2016, thousands of Facebook users received messages telling them they’d been mentioned in a post. The message had been initiated by criminals and unleashed a two-stage attack. The first stage downloaded a Trojan containing a malicious Chrome browser extension on to the user’s computer. When the user next logged in to Facebook using the compromised browser, the criminal was able to hijack the user’s account. They were able to change privacy settings, steal data and spread the infection through the victim’s Facebook friends.

These kind of attacks have been on the increase with regards to targeting kids especially, where malicious links are embedded in most commonly YouTube videos, but have also been seen on Instagram. Angler Phishing is soaring, with nearly every person in the globe being involved with some type of social media. As this type of Phishing becomes more sophisticated and harder to detect, SaferNet is ahead of the pack in being the only reliable method to avoid you or your loved ones having their details or accounts compromised.

Smishing (SMS Phishing)


With Smishing, telephones replace emails as the method of communication. Smishing involves criminals sending text messages (the content of which is much the same as with Email Phishing). A common smishing scam involves a criminal posing as a fraud investigator (either from the card company or the bank) telling the victim that their account has been breached. The criminal will then ask the victim to provide payment card details to verify their identity or to transfer money into a ‘secure’ account – by which they mean the criminal’s account.

Sometimes they will take the form of a fake direct-message or a cancellation link, which are often designed as a fake page you trust that gathers personal data. These are extremely common, and during the pandemic have seen an increase in popularity; Similar to Email Phishing, the criminal may pose as a government official looking for personal details to issue financial relief. The transaction of course never takes place, and the target is duped. SaferNet provides a shield against Smishing, automatically blocking and quarantining any suspicious link found in these schemes.

Smishing (SMS Phishing)


There are two other, more sophisticated, types of phishing involving email. The first, spear phishing, describes malicious emails sent to a specific person. Criminals who do this will already have some or all of the following information about the victim:

  • Their name
  • Place of employment
  • Job Title
  • Email Address
  • Specific Information about their job role

One of the most famous data breaches in recent history, the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, was done with the help of spear phishing. The first attack sent emails containing malicious attachments to more than 1,000 email addresses. Its success led to another campaign that tricked members of the committee into sharing their passwords. These attacks are particularly aggressive in that they most likely already have your social media profiles and select target information. Using SaferNet 256-bit, bank-level encrypted VPN, you, your business, employees or family are safe against all attempts of spear phishing

Smishing (SMS Phishing)


Whaling attacks are even more targeted, taking aim at senior executives. Although the end goal of whaling is the same as any other kind of phishing attack, the technique tends to be a lot subtler and sophisticated like Spear Phishing

Criminals attempt to imitate senior staff, and scams involving bogus tax returns are an increasingly common variety of whaling. Tax forms are highly valued by criminals as they contain a host of useful information: names, addresses, Social Security numbers and bank account information. C-Suite posts that have higher access to large databases that can lead to organizational phishing attempts as employees and vendors trust the spoofed domain and potential important information. Banks, Technology, Healthcare are most targeted sectors for these attacks.


SaferNet, our 24/7, always-on, bank-grade VPN is your best, most reliable protection against not only phishing, but all forms of malware attacks during this time. SaferNet guarantees a smooth setup and installation process that takes only minutes, and an easy accessible control hub for you to monitor your network. While our monthly subscribers are guarded against all forms of attack, free users are left open to attempts like those listed above. Protect you, your employees, your loved ones, or your business today. Have peace of mind that your online and network Safety is assured.

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