In a joint alert from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the agencies warned against cyber threats from malicious online groups exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The advisory showed that cyber criminals and advanced persistent threat (APT) groups are targeting individuals and organizations with variations of ransomware and malware.

“As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, bad actors are using these difficult times to exploit and take advantage of the public and business,” CISA Assistant Director for Cybersecurity Bryan Ware said. “Our partnerships with the NCSC and industry have played a critical role in our ability to track these threats and respond.”

Examples of the cyber threats include emails containing malware that have the appearance of coming from the Director General of the World Health Organizations and cyber criminals scanning for vulnerabilities in software and telework tools.

“Our advice to the public and organizations is to remain vigilant and follow our guidance, and to only use trusted sources of information on the virus such as UK Government, Public Health England or [National Health Service] websites,” Director of Operations at NCSC Paul Chichester said.

Overall agencies aren’t seeing levels of cybercrimes increase, the joint alert said, but instead are seeing the use of COVID-19 related themes growing.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.