Hackers will target people forced to work from home; Cyberguy warns caution

Screengrab Fox Business Network

Kurt Knutsson, aka “The Cyberguy,” warned Americans now working at home that in the face of the outbreak of the Chinese virus CODVID-19, hackers have their sights set on devices being used in the home.

Appearing on Fox Business Network’s “Making Money,” Knutsson explained what’s now happening.

“What’s really going on is an uptick in hackers going after — they realize that a lot of people are at home, they are working from home, [hackers] are starting to focus their energies there, preying on us during this pandemic,” he said.

A clip is run showing that hackers are baiting victims by email with an identical copy of an interactive Johns Hopkins University coronavirus outbreak map. There is also a rapidly spreading COVID-19 ransomware that tricks people into downloading a bogus tracker that locks your phone.


The scam threatens to erase everything and leak social media accounts if a ransom is not paid within 48 hours.

Devices like smart speakers, doorbells and WiFi routers are also targeted.

Maya Levine, a security engineer with Check Point Software Technologies, advises users to “change the default username and password” on such devices.

“If you leave that default on there, you’re basically leaving your front door unlocked,” she said.

A device known as “HakTrap” is showcased, as a moderator explains it automatically protects your home to lockout ongoing internet scams and threats, easily plugging in ahead of your cable or DSL (digital subscriber line) modem.

“They will get all of your login information,” Levine said. “And if they have that they can access things like your bank account, they can do all sorts of things with your private information — and sometimes with your money.”

Explaining that the clip was about three weeks old, Knutsson said they were seeing an increased presence by hackers even then.

“Right then we had already started to notice that home devices were starting to get on the radar for even greater attacks, and so the one thing you want to do when you’re at home right now… tighten up that internet router password,” he said. “Make sure that the firmware of all your devices at home are up-to-date.”

Printers may be one of the more vulnerable home devices that can let hackers inside, Knutsson added.

“You want to really target your own technology so they can’t target you,” he concluded.

With more people searching for coronavirus-related terms and precautionary efforts, the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission issued alerts warning people of COVID-19-related scam emails and texts in mid-February.

More from Yahoo News:

One phishing email reviewed by the BBB says “the government has discovered a vaccine but is keeping it secret for ‘security reasons'” despite the fact that this is largely false, the alert says. The email then links to a fraudulent website that asks for credit card information.

Similar intelligence from cybersecurity research company Check Point Research found that the number of internet domain names that include coronavirus-related words had jumped in mid-February, meaning bad actors are creating fraudulent websites related to the new virus outbreak to trick curious users into giving up sensitive information or downloading viruses by accident.


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