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Hackers use Covid-19 'special offers' to spread malware

hacker targeting a PC
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Although the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has led many businesses and organizations to shut down across the globe, the same can't be said for cybercriminals who have used the crisis as a means to profit.

New research from Check Point has revealed that malware distribution kits are spreading even faster on the dark web as hackers have begun to offer discounts to potential customers.

In a similar way to how businesses offer discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, hackers are using the coronavirus as a special promotion to spread malicious goods online.

The threat of cyberattacks has increased significantly due to these offers and by the fact that cybercriminals are registering a huge number of coronavirus-related domains.

Coronavirus discount codes

Security researchers at Check Point have discovered a number of instances where cybercriminals are offering discounted rates for their services during this trying time.

For instance, the researchers found a group offering services to hack into users' Facebook accounts at a cheaper rate through the use of a Covid-19 discount code. In another example, the special offer “CoronaVirus Discount! 10% off ALL products” allowed hackers to buy malicious toolkits, such as “WinDefender bypass” and “Build to bypass email and Chrome security”.

In addition to discounts on malware distribution kits, Check Point also observed that over 16,000 new coronavirus-related domains have been registered. However, the majority of these domains were all registered during the past three weeks.

Head of cyber research at Check Point, Yaniv Balmas explained why these coronavirus-related domains and malicious tools put all of us at risk, saying:

“We’ve seen a substantial upswing in the number of coronavirus related domains registered in just the past few weeks. Furthermore, we are seeing hackers use the attention on COVID-19 to spread their harmful “goods” in as many places as possible through COVID-19 specials and discounts on the dark net. The end result is more malicious tools in more wrong hands during this unique period of time, which puts us all more at security risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.”