A large numbers of firms are sending out work-from-home policies with the aim to limit the risks of the coronavirus and cyber security experts are now saying that remote workplace setups are encouraging new hacking attacks. 

The FBI has issued a statement about fraud related to the virus, particularly by scammers posing as official health agencies and other seemingly offical organisations  

“Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both. Don’t let them….Protect yourself and do your research before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus; donating to a charity online or through social media; contributing to a crowdfunding campaign; purchasing products online; or giving up your personal information in order to receive money or other benefits.”

The FBI advice is to carefully check and don’t open or respond to Fake Disease Control and Prevention emails, Phishing emails apparently from the government asking for your personal information and Counterfeit Treatments or Equipment that talks about prevention or treatment of the virus.

Recently, a hacking group tried to break into the World Health Organisation (WHO). The breach was discovered by Alexander Urbelis, a hacker-turned-information-security lawyer who founded the New York Blackstone Law Group. Although Urbelis can’t be certain about the identity of the hackers, he says the group replicated a portal used by remote World Health Oragisations (WHO) employees that he describes as “very, very convincing.”

Cyber Attack Targeting WHO
The group that targeted the WHO, has been watched for quite a while and it appears that the group has reawakened or reactivated some of its infrastructure. There are some indications that a group by the name of DarkHotel, first identified by the experts at Kaspersky, known for targeting hotel guests and Wi-Fi networks, may be responsible for this particular type of attack.

Their attacks are elegant and well researched. The attackers perform a significant amount of reconnaissance on the configurations and the systems and they carefully create portals that look exactly like the victims’ portals.

That’s was what was seen with the WHO on the 13th of March. A URL, a Web address, was created and put together that exactly mirrored the doorway to World Health Organisation’s internal file systems. So it was the external link to the internal file systems, that portal that remote employees would use to access the WHO, let’s say if they were working from home and that’s what this group had replicated.

This group not only replicate the portals of the WHO, but major research universities and many other intergovernmental organisations like the WHO.  In fact, the same day that the WHO was targeted by this particular group, they also targeted certain components of the United Nations

The DarkHotel hackers have the chracteristics of being a state-sponsored or state-affiliate group. That means that they could be considered as an APT, an advanced persistent threat, essentially a force to be reckoned with.

Source: Cyber Security Intelligence