As cybercriminals are rehashing old threats, creating data-stealing microsites, websites and repurposing data channels to milk global crises, it is becoming increasingly essential to make sure you do not put your confidential documents and data at risk. The beginning of 2021 has seen a rise of data frauds and cybersecurity threats, even as almost nations are charting out their paths to economic recoveries while others are still in the grasp of federal restrictions.

Unfortunately, crises such as these bring out the worst in fraudsters and scammers who are now exploiting every trick in the book to steal data and money. The beginning of February 2021 saw the rise of fraud websites and impersonating legitimate sources of data to steal information. The launch of a new range of fraudulent online marketplaces offering deals on essentials and products in short supply was another avenue for fraudsters to make money. These recent campaigns targeting people of their personal data and funds show how scammers are feeding on anxieties to create chaos and unrest.

Rise of Data Breaches

The Johns Hopkins University recently created a popular map that allowed researchers, public health authorities and people to track the progression of the global health crisis with an aim to provide useful statistics. Given that most people were trying to stay up-to-date on the latest reports and progress, the organization became an ideal target for fraudsters to imitate. Fraudulent maps impersonating the actual John Hopkins map created added features such as a chat window and pop-up ads. In this false map, if an unsuspecting victim clicked on any part of the map, it would redirect them to a phishing website that tried to scam them out of their data and attempt in stealing their login credentials. It even contained malware that was automatically downloaded on the victim’s computer.

Similarly, the World Health Organization which is one of the best and leading sources of information on any health issue and is heavily relied on by people to stay on top of daily health information was another target. In a recent campaign, cybercriminals who imitated WHO officials began to email victims with false data. The emails sent out included either an attachment or dubious link that would lead to malware, making its way onto the victim’s computer. The fraudsters spent a good deal of time by upping their game in creating a false website impersonating the WHO, to trick victims into downloading fraudulent applications claiming to have relevant guidelines and data. Once a victim clicked on the download button, it would launch malware onto the victim’s computer. Depending on the location of the victim’s computer and other elements, such as varying payloads, different forms of information-stealing mechanisms, including ransomware, would be downloaded on the computer.

Also, with a shortage of personal equipment and hygienic products, numerous fake online stores began to spring up as scammers looked for new ways to defraud their victims. Unfortunately, such websites became extremely popular, and cybercriminals also began to offer health apparel and smartphones as a one-stop shop. These online shops would steal the credit card information or financial details logged in by the victim and siphon off the data when the victim would attempt to purchase from the site.

Another scam that continues to remain popular with cybercriminals is preying on people’s good nature and the philanthropic spirit of charity. This new scam would prey on people who are experiencing financial difficulties or persuade them into believing that can make easy money. Emails posing as wealthy businessman claiming to be diagnosed with the disease and in an attempt to redeem their souls would describe how they would want to share their vast wealth with charitable organizations. These emails will explain how they would need the victim’s help to do it, and for that, they would pay handsomely. Although the request would appear generous, it was a scam. Once the victim begins to engage in communication, the scammer would relieve the victim of large amounts of money with untrue claims of charges, fees, unanticipated expenses, and bribes needed to release the funds. 

These are by far, not all of the scams that cybercriminals have up their sleeves. However, it is evident how low they can sink by psychologically impacting on the fear and confusion of the general public. Hence, it is crucial than ever to remain alert and keep out of harm’s way, both online and in real life. Your unsecured data can be easily stolen, copied, and duplicated in a matter of seconds without your knowledge. 

Similarly, if you are responsible for safeguarding documents and data in your organization, the potential result of a data breach could cost your company expensive legal action, damage to your company reputation and brand, loss of consumer trust, and perhaps even insolvency or bankruptcy. To protect your business or confidential information from these risks, especially if you are distributing PDF files and work documents, you need to secure your documents through PDF DRM security. As a document security solution that travels with your protected document, secure PDF files are safeguarded with military-grade encryption.  DRM controls enable you to control how your documents can be used by authorized users, such as whether they can be printed or if they should atomically expire after a certain amount of time. And regardless of who is accessing the content and on which device, the robust security layers of PDF DRM can ensure your document content remains safe regardless of where your documents are located.


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