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Hackers using COVID-19 specials, discounts to sell malware on dark web

Check Point Research reveals how hackers are using coronavirus for their benefits
Check Point Research reveals how hackers are using coronavirus for their benefits (AP)

Cybercriminals are selling malicious malware and exploitation tools through “COVID19” discount codes on the dark net.

Hackers are selling malware and hacking tools through "COVID-19" discount codes on the dark net, reports security research firm CheckPoint. The discount codes are sold in a fashion similar to Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals in a bid to woo cyber criminals. The research firm said these codes are aimed at spread malware at a much faster pace.

Sharing an example of such sale, CheckPoint pointed that hackers are selling tools to hack into Facebook accounts at a discount rate through a "15% off with COVID-19 code." "Dedicated to "providing the best hacking services", the group assumes the moniker of SSHacker and has been active since 2005," it added.

In another example, hackers are selling a special offer "CoronaVirus Discount! 10% off ALL products" for a malicious toolkit, such as "WinDefender bypass" which is aimed at bypassing email and Chrome security.

ALSO READ: Mass move to work from home in coronavirus crisis creates opening for hackers

The latest report comes amid a staggering rise in Coronavirus-themed malicious websites. According to CheckPoint, more than 16,000 new coronavirus-related domains have been registered since early January 2020. Just in the last week, over 6,000 new domains were registered, an 85% hike compared to the week before. 0.8% of the domains registered in the last three weeks were confirmed to be malicious. About 19% of the domains registered in the past 3 weeks were found to be "suspicious" (more than 2,200 websites).

"Majority of coronavirus-related domains were registered in the past 3 weeks. The number of domains registered in the past 3 weeks is 10x more than the average number found in previous weeks," it added.

ALSO READ: Hackers target users working from home in absence of secure networks

Deepak Bhawnani, CEO at Alea Consulting said, "Companies, large and small, will be impacted due to ramifications of work from home, as this will lead to cyber security risk concerns. Proprietary corporate data is being accessed from laptops and home PCs that may not have the same level of firewall and security as in-office setups. Management and IT managers will subsequently need to reassess the risk to their data, and proactively evaluate their data loss prevention processes, as this can impact their reputation going forward."

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