WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Cyber criminals are taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis.
Cyber counter-terrorism expert Zohar Pinhasi says his cyber security firm, MonsterCloud, has had an 800 percent increase in calls since the virus forced many Americans to work from home.
Those remote connections are not always secure, Pinhasi said, giving hackers easy access to devices and networks.
"From those criminals perspective, it's heaven," he said. "They have stepped on a gold mine."
Hackers will often send bogus emails called phishing or spear phishing emails.
The recipient can be tricked into clicking and opening the email because it appears like it could be from someone they know and trust - or be about an important subject -- like the coronavirus.
Once they have infiltrated the network, the hacker can hold it hostage and demand ransom payments.
And ransomware attacks aren't the only tactic.
"Those criminals converted ransomware to something called doxware," said Pinhasi.
"If you're not going to pay us, we will sell your data and in addition to that, notify your customers that you were hacked and their data was compromised. This is a game changer since the Coronavirus started - we've seen it in the past, but not to that degree."
Pinhasi said there are several steps individuals, businesses, and government agencies can take to prevent a cyber attack -- even with so many remote workers.
"Think before you click is major here," he said, adding he is "extremely worried" about level of cyber security businesses and governments have during this Coronavirus crisis.