Cybersecurity just got scarier in the age of coronavirus

By Chris Pierson

As the world pauses to grapple with the effects of coronavirus, cybercriminals have not let up.  In fact, they continue to prey on a weary public with an ever-evolving array of tactics to commit hacking, fraud, identify theft, and other cyber crimes.  We must stay vigilant.

BlackCloak CEO Chris Pierson

As of March 31, the Federal Trade Commission advised that the top categories of coronavirus-related fraud complaints include:

  • travel and vacation related reports about cancellations and refunds,
  • reports about problems with online shopping,
  • mobile texting scams
  • government and business imposter scams.

Coronavirus-related consumer fraud complaints have resulted in a reported loss of $4.77 million, with a reported median loss of $598.

Examples of coronavirus scams

  • One phishing scam claims to be a drug company researching a cure for coronavirus and asks you to install a program on your computer to help them run simulations for a cure. However, the only action that program will be taking will be to steal your information.
  • Trojans are incorporating text from coronavirus news stories into their malicious code, in hopes to evade anti-virus detection. This malware may be delivered as attachments in phishing emails or links.
  • Another phishing scam is delivered as a malicious spam email with an attached file claiming to contain World Health Organization (WHO) information about protecting children and businesses from the virus. If a user downloads the file, malware is installed that can steal web browsing data and track what the user types.
  • Malicious apps are popping up in the various app stores. This Android app claims to track the virus across the globe, but instead is a ransomware attack in disguise.
  • Dozens upon dozens of websites are being spun up by criminals, with different “Calls To Action.” Some include assisting victims of the coronavirus. One website in particular is just a front for recruiting “money mules”.
  • And this map hopes you’ll click on it when browsing the internet, and in doing so download malware onto your computer.

Please join me for a live webinar on Thursday, April 16, from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for a live webinar. I will discuss the latest cybersecurity and privacy issues resulting from the coronavirus.  I will also share some tips on how you can protect yourself against these emerging threats.

Chris Pierson is CEO and founder of BlackCloak, a concierge cybersecurity protection suite for high-net-worth individuals and top C-Suite executives.  BlackCloak protects customers from financial loss, cybercrime, hacking, reputational damage, privacy exposure, and identity theft.  Visit its website to take a free cyber risk assessment. 

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.