Friday, July 12, 2024

Google launches website to help users avoid COVID-19 online security risks

Google today rolled out a new website focussed on Covid-19 related security risks. The site will inform about online risks and scams and help users stay safe online. The website is currently available in Hindi and English, and the content will soon be rolled out in other regional languages.

The Google Threat Analysis Group continuously monitors for sophisticated hacking activity, and their security systems have detected a range of new scams such as phishing emails posing as messages from charities and NGOs battling COVID-19, directions from “administrators” to employees working from home, and even notices spoofing healthcare providers. 

Know how to spot and avoid COVID-19 scams

With many of the COVID-19 related scams coming in the form of phishing emails, it’s important to pause and evaluate any COVID-19 related email before clicking any links or taking other action. Users should be wary of requests for personal information such as home addresses or bank details. Fake links often imitate established websites by adding extra words or letters to them—check the URL’s validity by hovering over it (on desktop) or with a long press (on mobile), taking care not to click any suspicious links. 

See the image below for a few key tips to be aware of.

Besides, Google systems have also spotted malware-laden sites that pose as sign-in pages for popular social media accounts, health organizations, and even official coronavirus maps. During the past couple of weeks, Google’s advanced machine-learning classifiers have globally seen 18 million daily malware and phishing attempts related to COVID-19, in addition to more than 240 million COVID-related spam messages. 

To help protect you against these risks, Google has built advanced security protections into Google products to automatically identify and stop threats before they ever reach users. Google machine learning models in Gmail already detect and block more than 99.9 percent of spam, phishing, and malware. Besides, the security built into the Chrome browser also protects users by alerting them in case of fraudulent websites. Moreover, Google Play Protect scans billions of apps in Google Play to safeguard users against any such risks. 

As people around the world are staying at home due to COVID-19, many are turning to new apps and communications tools to work, learn, access information, and stay connected with loved ones. While these digital platforms are helpful in our daily lives, they can also introduce new online security risks. Google continues to monitor the evolving online security threats connected to COVID-19 to keep users informed and aware of such risks.

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