FBI Warns of Sporadically Increasing Cybercrime Amid the Coronavirus Author: Jimmy Aki Last Updated: 20 April 2020 The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has come out to decry the increase in cybercrime and attacks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The admission was made in a roundtable with the Aspen Institute, an international non-profit think tank for nonpartisan, value-based leadership. As ZDNet reported last week, FBI Deputy Assistant Director Tonya Ugoretz explained at the panel discussion that the United States had seen a 400 percent rise in the number of cybercrime cases since the virus began. Cybercrime Runs Rampant, Threatens Everyone As she explained, the Internet Crime Complaint Center is now receiving between 3,000 to 4,000 complaints every day. Fraud methods have also come multi-pronged, with attackers finding new ways to structure their operations and prey on the fear and ignorance of people. Some scammers work by creating fake domains, while others impersonate health organizations and charities that are dedicated to fighting the global pandemic. Ugoretz also confirmed that several pharmaceutical and healthcare companies that are working on research efforts had seen significant attacks. As she pointe doubt, these companies have made a habit of being transparent with the progress of their research. Sadly, this has painted a target on their backs going forward. “The sad flipside is that it kind of makes them a mark for other nation-states that are interested in gleaning details about what exactly they’re doing and maybe even stealing proprietary information that those institutions have. While the Deputy Assistant Director didn’t pin-point the percentage of attacks that have involved cryptocurrencies, there’s no doubt to the fact that cryptocurrency scams have been on the rise over the past few weeks. Last month, ‘PeterM’ of British IT security firm Sophos tweeted that the operators of the Ryuk ransomware had targeted a U.S.- based healthcare provider. While he didn’t name the company in question, he did confirm that the cyberattack looked like a typical Ryuk operation. British Authorities Speak Out The issue appears to be just as dire across the pond as well. Last month, the counties of Norfolk and Pembrokeshire, as well as the Manchester city council, shared press releases where they echoed a warning from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) concerning “opportunistic” and “highly sophisticated” crypto fraud schemes that have run rampant amid the pandemic. The regional authorities identified several tactics that these scams have employed to take advantage of the anxiety and social unrest that the public had developed in the wake of the crisis. For instance, the Manchester city council explained that most fraudsters have taken to impersonating research groups from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO). “They claim to provide the victim with a list of active infections in their area but to access this information the victim needs to either: click on a link which redirects them to a credential-stealing page; or make a donation of support in the form of a payment into a Bitcoin account. As for the FCA, the agency emphasized the need to take care against high-return investment opportunities, as these may also be used to prey on locals.