NEWS

Cybercrime up in tandem with Covid-19

cybercrime-up-in-tandem-with-covid-19

There has been a spike across Europe in cybercrime, including child pornography and financial scams, in tandem with the spread of Covid-19, according to a report by Europol, and Greece has also been impacted, albeit to a relatively far lesser degree than other countries.

According to Greek police sources, the coronavirus crisis has not yet been reflected in an increase in cases of child pornography; however, the same is not true of fake news regarding Covid-19, which has proliferated.

Tellingly, complaints to police have spiked mainly from companies trying to procure medicals (masks gloves etc) which have fallen victim to scammers.

In the last few days alone, the police cybercrime division has drafted four case files regarding the spreading of false news via the internet about coronavirus.

In addition, three company representatives have filed lawsuits alleging that they were deceived by internet fraudsters by paying them money to buy medical supplies they never received.

As for the situation in Europe, Europol’s 13-page report published on April 3 said the measures to restrict the movement of people in the bloc have increased the number of online users and turned the health crisis into an opportunity for cybercriminals.

The most worrying findings are those concerning the trafficking of child pornography, with some European Unionm member-states recording an increase of up to 25 percent in searches for downloads of illegal files.

Europol also referred to digital blackmail of individuals and companies, whose computers are hacked with special software known as ransomware. There has been also a slight increase in distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks, which result in websites being shut down due to a large number of visitors.

Part of the problem is that a huge number of Europeans work from home, often using obsolete security systems.