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Chennai: Cyber cheats exploit Covid-19 pandemic, offer fake personal loans, insurance at cheap rate to dupe people

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 18 April 2020, 16:02 IST

Online hackers are on the prowl. And if you aren’t vigilant then chances are you may be picked out by the impostors. Regardless of strict system of laws and rigid cyber policing, there appear to be no abate in the online frauds even in the thick of a pandemic.

Cyber cheats are now providing fake personal loans and insurance policies at a low cost premium to handle an financial crisis during the nationwide lockdown. Locals in Tamil Nadu’s Chennai are getting calls and messages to share One Time Password (OTP) for crediting Garib Kalyan cash allowance by the government.

As maintained by a report in TOI, one such message was received by a 28-year-old IT professional promising a loan to withstand lockdown in a better way.

The message recipient Swetha Vikay instantly called her bank to ask the authenticity of the message. Her bank responded by saying that it has not sent any such message and that she should not share her PAN and OTP details with anyone.

"The message looked very suspicious as it does not carry the usual web address of my bank," said Swetha.

Cybersecurity experts say that there has been a 20 fold jump in cyber attacks with more than 6,000 new certificates carrying host names COVID or corona.

"Between February and March 2020, over 42,000 domain names with COVID or corona have been registered. We have identified over 1,700 malicious domain names using corona or COVID. Of these, around 1200 domain names are active," said Sunil Sharma, MD-sales, Sophos India and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations.

As maintained by Sunil, cloud and Artificial Intelligence (AI) bases security solution are effective when deployed directly to the system rather than on the premise solutions mainly with those working from home.

Likewise, 38-year-old K Murugan got a message promising Rs 1 crore term insurance at a very cheap rate of Rs 28 a day during the lockdown.

"I quit the page when the red link led me to a page asking for my name, date of birth and city," said Murugan.

"In times of coronavirus pandemic, people are jittery and are likely to open malicious links and attachments disguised as important information. Working and transacting from home has increased this menace manifold and hackers are likely to exploit this vulnerability in the form of data harvesting," said founder of data security firm K7 Computing.

Also Read: Delhi: Man looted by gang of two in Baljeet Nagar amid lockdown [Watch]

First published: 18 April 2020, 16:00 IST