Gmail users need to be on guard about scam emails about the coronavirus pandemic. Google has revealed that in the past week alone they have seen more than 18million phishing and malware emails that are related to COVID-19. Scammers have been using concern about the coronavirus to try and trick Gmail users into clicking on dangerous content.
Emails that Google spotted include fake advice from the WHO, alleged details on government stimulus packages or bogus information needed to work from home.
These messages from con artists ask Gmail users to download malicious files, provide payment to scammers or send over sensitive information.
Besides these scam emails, Google has revealed that more than 240million COVID-19 spam messages are also being sent out.
Thankfully, measures Google put in place means 99.9 per cent of these fake coronavirus emails are being blocked by Gmail.
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Nonetheless, Google has offered advice how to stay safe and also outlined how scammers have been trying to trick Gmail users.
In a post online the search engine giant said: “Every day, Gmail blocks more than 100million phishing emails.
“During the last week, we saw 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19.
“This is in addition to more than 240 million COVID-related daily spam messages.
“Our ML models have evolved to understand and filter these threats, and we continue to block more than 99.9 per cent of spam, phishing, and malware from reaching our users.”
“The phishing attacks and scams we’re seeing use both fear and financial incentives to create urgency to try to prompt users to respond.”
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Google went onto highlight some of the coronavirus scams they have spotted:
• Impersonating authoritative government organisations like the WHO to solicit fraudulent donations or distribute malware
• Increased phishing attempts of employees operating in a work-from-home setting
• Attempts to capitalise on government stimulus packages and imitates government institutions to phish small businesses
• Attempt targets organisations impacted by stay-at-home orders
Google said they have enforced “proactive monitoring” to keep Gmail users safe and spot COVID-19 released malware and phishing attempts.
They added that many of these coronavirus scams are existing ones that have been exploited to capitalise the attention on the virus.
As soon as a threat is identified Google adds it to their Safe Browsing API which protects users across Gmail, Chrome and other integrated products.
And in an extra bit of advice Google has provided advice on how to stay safe from coronavirus scams…
• Complete a Security Checkup to improve your account security
• Avoid downloading files that you don’t recognise; instead, use Gmail’s built-in document preview
• Check the integrity of URLs before providing login credentials or clicking a link—fake URLs generally imitate real URLs and include additional words or domains
• Avoid and report phishing emails
• Consider enrolling in Google’s Advanced Protection Program (APP)
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