World Telecommunication & Information Society Day, 2020

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Cyber-Crime on the rise during COVID-19 pandemic

Published on: Apr 03, 2020
Director of Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten, Mr, Anthony Carty, urges the general public and Critical Infrastructure Facilities to be vigilant against cyber-crime during this global Coronavirus crisis.
An increasing amount of cases are being reported, globally, of Cyber Criminals that are taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis for personal gain. It goes from Phishing scams, (fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity) to high profile coordinated attacks on critical infrastructure facilities.

While all critical facilities need to be on a high alert during this crisis situation, we’ve seen that especially Healthcare Facilities are now becoming a major target of cyber criminals. Healthcare institutions such as Hospitals, which stores vast amounts of sensitive personal information, and in times of a world health crisis, that data becomes very valuable to some.

The European Commission recently alerted its member states that cyber criminals are now actively looking for information about cures, tests or vaccines relating to the coronavirus to sell in the black market, encrypt sensitive data and hold it for ransom, or simply disrupt the operability of the institution.

As Cyber Criminals exploiting this coronavirus pandemic, some even very close to home, Carty advises all Critical Infrastructures to revisit their Cyber Security Protocols and Access Control mechanisms, to make ongoing efforts to protect customer data, and to advice employees to beware of fraudulent emails and prevent them from clicking on links or open suspicious files.

For those that are targeted or have been a victim of Cybercrime, are encouraged to contact the police department.