Current Affairs Insight – Cyber fraud during the COVID-19 lock-down

At this time of the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has imposed a nationwide lockdown. Due to this, everything has changed resulting in the change of work scenario as well. People started working from their homes due to which there is a huge rise in the use of the internet. Today meetings, conferences, and all other works are being done online. This culture is emerging to avoid physical contact among people. With this increase in online usage, the number of cyber frauds is also increasing rapidly. So, this current affairs insight takes you through these cyber-attacks during the COVID-19 lock-down.

Cybercriminals are attacking the computer networks and systems of individuals, businesses, and even global organizations at a time when cyber defenses might be lowered due to the shift of focus to the health crisis.

Subject wise current affairs insight for UPSC civil service exam (Prelims and mains)

Prelims GS and Mains GS3 – International Relations


The international criminal police organization, more commonly known as INTERPOL, is an international organization that facilitates worldwide police cooperation and crime control. This INTERPOL’s headquarters is located in Lyon, France.

Already, hospitals and other institutions are on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus facing unprecedented physical dangers. In addition to this, now, they are also facing another threat from cybercriminals.

INTERPOL has issued a warning to organizations at the forefront of the global response to the COVID-19 outbreak that has also become targets of ransomware attacks, which are designed to lock them out of their critical systems in an attempt to extort payments.

INTERPOL’s Cybercrime Threat Response team at its Cyber Fusion Centre has detected a significant increase in the number of attempted ransomware attacks against key organizations and infrastructure engaged in the virus response. Cybercriminals are using ransomware to digitally hostage hospitals and medical services. This prevents them from accessing vital files and systems until a ransom is paid.

To support global efforts against this critical danger, INTERPOL has issued a Purple Notice alerting police in all its 194 member countries to the heightened ransomware threat.

Prelims GS and Mains GS3 – Science and Technology

Cybersafety checklist by INTERPOL:
  • Back up online and offline files regularly and securely.
  • Strengthen your home network.
  • Use strong passwords.
  • keep your software updated.
  • Manage social media profiles.
  • Check privacy and security settings.
  • Avoid opening and delete suspicious emails or attachments.
Recommendations and prevention tips:

With an increasing number of countries encouraging citizens to stay, learn, or work from home, now is the moment to focus on cyber-security, whether it’s for yourself or your workplace.

Keep your information safe
  • Back up all your important files, and store them independently from your system (e.g. in the cloud, on an external drive).
  • Always verify you are on a company’s legitimate website before entering login credentials or sensitive information.
Check your software and systems
  • Ensure you have the latest anti-virus software installed on your computer and mobile devices.
  • Secure email gateways to thwart threats via spam.
  • Strengthen your home network.
  • Secure system administration vulnerabilities that attackers could abuse.
  • Disable third-party or outdated components that could be used as entry points.
  • Download mobile applications or any other software from trusted platforms only.
  • Perform regular health scans on your computers or mobile devices.
Be vigilant
  • Talk to your family −including children − about how to stay safe online.
  • Regularly check and update the privacy settings on your social media accounts.
  • Update your passwords and ensure they are strong (a mix of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters).
  • Do not click on links or open attachments in emails which you were not expecting to receive or come from an unknown sender.

Summary of this current affairs insight

In summary, due to this increase in cybercrime throughout the world, it is essential for everybody using online resources to be very cautious. As always, prevention is better than recovering.

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