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Kerala records highest number of cyber crimes in lockdown time

The Covid-19-induced lockdown has led to a spurt in cyber crimes, with Kerala recording the highest number of attacks, according to K7 Computing’s Cyber Threat Report.

The surge in frequency of attacks witnessed from February 2020 to mid-April 2020 indicates that scamsters across the world were exploiting the widespread panic around coronavirus at both individual and corporate levels. These attacks are aimed at compromising computers and mobile devices to gain access to users’ confidential data, banking details, and cryptocurrency accounts.

In Kerala, regions like Kottayam, Kannur, Kollam, and Kochi saw the highest hits with 462, 374, 236, and 147 attacks respectively, while the state as a whole saw around 2,000 attacks during the period ― the highest thus far in the country. This was followed by Punjab with 207 attacks and Tamil Nadu with 184 attacks, says a release from K7 Computing.

Users from Ghaziabad and Lucknow seem to have faced almost six and four times the number of attacks as Bengaluru users, says the report.

K7 Labs noticed phishing attacks where scamsters posed as representatives of the United States Department of the Treasury, the World Health Organisation, and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Users were encouraged to visit links that would automatically download malware on the host computer such as Agent Tesla keylogger or Lokibot information-stealing malware, infamous banking trojans such as Trickbot or Zeus Sphinx, and even disastrous ransomware. Other attacks included infected Covid-19 Android apps like CoronaSafetyMask that scamsters use with promises of masks for an upfront payment, the spyware app Project Spy, and seemingly genuine apps that are infected with dangerous malware like banking trojans such as Ginp, Anubis and Cerberus, the release said.

J Kesavardhanan, founder and CEO of K7 Computing, said that the need to be cyber-cautious has never been greater. This is more so in the case of corporates that have adopted a work from home (WFH) policy hurriedly without adequate cyber hygiene.

“We have seen an increase in attacks on enterprises and SME employees as well,” Kesavardhanan said.

—The Hindu Business Line

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