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Malware disguised as meeting apps spikes 1 000% in a year

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Cyber threats disguised as video conferencing applications jumped by 1 067% in a year. 

This was revealed by an Atlas VPN analysis of data that was provided by security giant Kaspersky.

As workforces became remote thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, bad actors, always keen to cash in, began distributing malware using popular meeting applications as a lure.

In March last year, the anti-virus provider detected 90 000 malicious installers hidden under the name of popular meeting applications, and in January 2021, this number jumped to 1.15 million.

For the duration of 2020, malefactors targeted victims with this type of malware around 411 000 times per month. The volume of attacks increased steadily during the year, with noticeable spikes in November and December.

The most popular applications used to disguise malware are Zoom, MS Teams, Slack, Webex, HighFive, Lifesize, Join.me, Flock and Gotomeeting.

Staying safe

Although the applications used to disguise malware are constantly changing, steps to protect against threats remain the same, says Atlas VPN.

What changed is how vigilant everyone needs to be in light of the record-high activity among cyber criminals.

There are countless tricks that fraudsters can use to fool users into clicking on phishing links or downloading attachments. As a rule of thumb, users are advised to ignore all e-mail attachments and links until they can confirm they are the genuine article.

A record high

Phishing Web sites also reached unprecedented levels in the past year, says Atlas VPN. “Google detected a record-high 2.11 million phishing sites in 2020. Looking at the last decade year-by-year, the volume of phishing portals grew by 43% on average.”

Again, whenever directed to a Web site from any link or form, be it Google Ads, e-mail link, or an apparent message from a friend, users are advised to proceed with caution.

“Finally, a huge red flag should also go up if you are browsing a well-known Web site and detect spelling or grammatical errors. Hackers rarely hire professional writers to proofread their texts, which makes this an obvious clue to detect a phishing site.”

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