News for the cybersecurity community during the COVID-19 emergency
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to draw scammers along in its wake. Everything from bogus cures to phishbait to pranks pulled for the lulz are accumulating at what the Washington Post calls "unprecedented" numbers. One index of how widespread the fraud is may be seen in figures the US Federal Trade Commission reported yesterday: complaints about coronavirus scams the FTC has received so far this year doubled over the course of a single week. "The top categories of coronavirus-related fraud complaints include travel and vacation related reports about cancellations and refunds, reports about problems with online shopping, mobile texting scams, and government and business imposter scams. In fraud complaints that mentioned the coronavirus, consumers reported losing a total of $4.77 million, with a reported median loss of $598."
The cybersecurity sector continues to seek to do its part in the crisis, offering security for healthcare organizations (very much at risk from conscience-less criminals) and secure, reliable connectivity for emergency medical facilities.
Remote work solutions are seeing very heavy use. According to the Verge, Comcast reports that voice and video calls have risen 212% during the current period of self-isolation. Seeking Alpha thinks that Akamai, with its content delivery and cloud security solutions, is particularly well-placed to serve the needs of teleworking enterprises during the emergency.
Zoom has also seen a sharp increase in usage, but the attention the teleconferencing solution is receiving continues to be decidedly mixed. TechCrunch reports that researcher Patrick Wardle has found two local security flaws in Zoom's macOS client.
The pandemic has put a stop to at least one major acquisition attempt: the Wall Street Journal reports that Xerox has given up its attempted purchase of HP, for the duration at least.
The emergency has also, of course, affected daily life in many ways beyond the immediately obvious social distancing and sheltering at home. Jewish communities are observing Passover under unusual circumstances, and Christian churches are doing the same at Easter. ("We can't meet, but we will gather," as the Baltimore Sun quotes one religious leader.) And Reuters says that Saudi authorities have urged Muslims to defer the hajj, normally scheduled for July, until the pandemic has passed. The Kingdom has already suspended the year-round umrah pilgrimage.