KOCHI: Kochi has become the preferred hunting ground of cyber fraudsters during the pandemic, it would seem. According to a study conducted by Chennai-based cybersecurity agency K7 Computing between February and April, the maximum number of cyber attacks in India took place in Kerala’s financial capital.
As many as 574 cyber attacks took place in the district at Panampilly Nagar, Vyttila, Aluva and Mundamveli and the ‘Rest of Kochi’ during the period. The agency took into account the number of blocks (of calls or phishing attempts) made by 10,000 users in each locality.
There were 493 cyber attacks in Kochi city alone (Panampilly Nagar, Vyttila and ‘Rest of Kochi’). Of them, Panampilly Nagar recorded 227 cyber attacks, followed by 166 in ‘Rest of Kochi’ and 100 in Vyttila. Aluva witnessed 61 cyber attacks, while Mundamveli faced 20 such attacks.In comparison, other metro cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru witnessed minimal cyber attacks.
“Since February, we have noticed coronavirus online scams mushrooming in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. The recorded number of users who encountered such threats during February-April period was noticeable in cities like Kannur, Kottayam and Kochi. Users in other metro cities do not appear to have encountered the scams, possibly because they follow better cybersecurity practices,” said the report.The report said phishing techniques are most widely used by cyber fraudsters. They use sophisticated campaigns as bait to trap unsuspecting victims.
“We noticed a phishing attack where a scammer disguised as a US Department of Treasury representative falsely assures victims to activate their deactivated ATM cards in exchange for an upfront payment,” said the report. Such campaigns primarily target healthcare, research and government industries. Malicious Android apps claiming to be legitimate Covid-19 tracking apps infected user’s device with ransomware and then demand payment for restoring device access.
Similarly, Covid-19-themed malware attacks are on the rise in which users are sent messages and emails with malicious links. In the past few months, spyware and banking Trojans are also making the rounds as mobile apps which steal user details from mobile phones. “A large number of work-from-home employees are another crucial target for cybercriminals,” the report claims.