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The UK’ National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have issued a joint advisory of the actions of malicious actors trying to take advantage of the Covid-19 crisis.

The advisory provides information on exploitation by cyber criminal and advanced persistent threat (APT) groups of the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic. It includes a non-exhaustive list of indicators of compromise (IOCs) for detection as well as mitigation advice.

COVID-19 exploitation

An increasing number of malicious cyber actors are exploiting the current COVID-19 pandemic for their own objectives. In the UK, the NCSC has detected more UK government branded scams relating to COVID-19 than any other subject. Although, from the data seen to date, the overall levels of cyber crime have not increased both the NCSC and CISA are seeing a growing use of COVID-19 related themes by malicious cyber actors. At the same time, the surge in home working has increased the use of potentially vulnerable services, such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), amplifying the threat to individuals and organisations.

APT groups and cyber criminals are targeting individuals, small and medium businesses and large organisations with COVID-19 related scams and phishing emails. This advisory provides you with an overview of COVID-19 related malicious cyber activity. It offers practical advice that individuals and organisations can follow to reduce the risk of being affected. The IOCs provided within the accompanying .csv and .stix files of this advisory are based on analysis from CISA, NCSC, and industry.

Note: this is a fast-moving situation and this advisory does not seek to catalogue all COVID-19 related malicious cyber activity. You should remain alert to increased activity relating to COVID-19 and take proactive steps to protect yourself and your organisation.

The joint advisory can be found here