Hackers taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak

Cyber security experts say while you're at home and maybe using your computer more than usual, hackers are getting creative and taking advantage of the global coronavirus outbreak.

Hackers are increasing their email scams during the coronavirus outbreak.

Jason Mitchell, a cyber security expert at the LCC Center for Cyber Security Education says he's seeing a number of attacks through email.

"You'll see emails about cures, you'll see emails about N95 masks. People are setting up fake storefronts and selling these products, selling toilet paper, selling dehydrated food basically using scare techniques to get people to put in their credit card information and then they basically steal that and sell it," said Mitchell.

Mitchell says the subject line will typically mention 'COVID-19' or 'Coronavirus'.

"There's a ton of them out there. It's pretty random, but it's usually something that implies urgency or a threat," said Mitchell.

Some emails have even mentioned unemployment or stimulus checks.

Mitchell says the attacks are a ploy to distract people, while they worry about everything else.

"People are in high anxiety mode. There's a lot of stuff that people are juggling. They're trying to work from home. They may have kids at home. They might have to figure out where the next food is coming from, what grocery store they should go to and one little email and an accidental click can make or break the ability of you working from home and also can make or break an organization," said Mitchell.

Whether you're online working, filing for unemployment or just searching for information, he suggests users be suspicious of every email, link, text, and social media message.

"Even just opening the email can actually launch the malware," said Mitchell.

He says criminals are even sending fake video meeting request links. So if you're not expecting an invite, don't click the link.

Mitchell says IT Departments and banks will never ask for your username and password.

To further protect yourself:

-Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date.
-Make sure your computer software is up to date.
-If you are using Wi-Fi, make sure you are using WPA2 with a complex passphrase.
-Download a virtual private network or VPN

If you're ever unsure contact your employer's IT Department.

Lansing Community College has a Center for Cyber Security that's open to calls from the community. To learn more click HERE

For more resources visit Defeat The Breach Coalition

Copyright 2019 WILX. All rights reserved.