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ECB warns of rising cybercrime due to coronavirus

US, WASHINGTON (NEWS OBSERVATORY) — The European Central Bank urged banks to prepare for a possible sharp increase in the number of cyber attacks as part of the consequences of the coronavirus epidemic.

The regulator in a letter this week advised testing the capabilities of their technology systems “in light of the potential increase in the number of cyberattacks and the potential higher dependence on remote banking services.” This suggests that the ECB is concerned that criminals might try to take advantage of the chaos caused by the virus.

The outbreak prompted companies to ask employees to work at home or distribute them to different offices, while more customers could choose online banking instead of going to branches. Despite the fact that in recent years, banks have improved protection against hackers, the ECB has called cyber crime and technological gaps one of the main risks for the industry this year.

The ECB’s letter is part of an effort to ensure that banks can continue to function if they are directly affected by the outbreak of coronavirus, which has swept the global economy. The ECB also asks banks to develop an emergency plan.

Andrea Enria, head of the ECB’s banking supervision department, writes that he expects banks to assess the risks of growing cyber-security fraud aimed at both customers and the bank, for example through phishing. He also said that banks should talk with outside contractors about whether they can continue to work if the epidemic grows, and if so, how.

In January, cybercriminals used the Chinese coronavirus theme to send malicious emails, Check Point Research said in a report. Experts said that malicious emails promise to talk about the sources of distribution of coronavirus and share more detailed information about it. If the user becomes interested and follows the link (or if he opens the attachment), the virus will be downloaded to his computer.

Ransomware viruses or other malicious campaigns are usually used, the researchers said.

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Article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by News Observatory staff in our US newsroom.