Google Found Millions of Malicious Emails Using COVID-19 as Bait

Google has revealed earlier this week that it has detected about 18 million malware and phishing Gmail messages related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tech giant has also announced that it identified about 240 million coronavirus-related spam messages that are sent per day.

The company stated that the machine learning technology has surveyed these messages and blocked over 99.9 percent of spam, phishing, and malware from getting to the end-users. As per the report released by the tech giant, Google Threat Analysis Group (TAG) has found a few groups that are using coronavirus-themed emails and websites for phishing and malware attempts.

Using COVID-19 as a Decoy

These emails ask receivers to click malicious links and download files into their devices, which ultimately led to the loss of private data such as banking information and more.

“Our machine learning models have evolved to understand and filter these threats, and we continue to block more than 99.9% of spam, phishing, and malware from reaching our users,” said Shane Huntley from Google Threat Analysis Group.

The company revealed that attackers are mostly targeting health organizations.

“We’re proactively adding extra security protections, such as higher thresholds for Google Account sign in and recovery, to more than 50,000 of such high-risk accounts,” said a spokesperson from the company.

As per the Google blog post, some phishing messages are offering free meals and coupons in order to seem more appealing. There are also messages that have information about online ordering and delivering options to appear more credible.

“The vast majority of these messages were sent to spam without any user ever seeing them, and we were able to preemptively block the domains using Safe Browsing,” the blog post said.

How To Protect Yourself From Malicious Messages

In order to make sure that you don’t fall victim to such malicious actions, ensure you follow the recommendations below.

  • Avoid opening anonymous emails and clicking links in them
  • Do not download attachments from any suspicious email
  • Always verify the links before opening them: malicious ones have extra words or letters
  • Use your company’s enterprise email account at all times for anything related to work
  • Use strong and unique passwords for your accounts and change them often

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