Kaspersky: Number of users facing threats using popular online learning platforms increases by 60% in 1H2020

According to Kaspersky, from January to June 2020, the total number of users that encountered various threats distributed under the guise of popular online learning platforms/video conferencing applications was 168,550 – a 20,455 percent increase when compared to the same period for 2019.

This number has only continued to grow from July to December, as discovered by Kaspersky experts. As January 2021, the number of users encountering various threats using popular online learning platforms as a lure reached 270,171—a 60 percent increase when compared to the first half of 2020.

Comparison of users that encountered various threats disguised as popular online learning/video conferencing platforms Jan-June 2020 vs July-December 2020 The most popular lure was, by far, Zoom. This is not surprising given that Zoom is the most
popular platform for virtual meetings, with more than 300 million daily meeting participants.

The second most popular was Moodle, followed by Google Meet. The number of users that encountered threats disguised as popular online learning/video conference platforms increased for all but one platform—Google Classroom.

About 98 percent of the threats encountered were not-a-virus, which is divided into riskware and adware. Adware bombards users with unwanted ads, while riskware consists of various files – from browser bars and download managers to remote administration tools – that may carry out various actions on your computer without your consent.

Trojans made up roughly one percent of the threats encountered. Users typically encounter threats disguised as popular video meeting apps and online course platforms through fake application installers, which they may encounter on unofficial websites
designed to look like the original platforms or emails disguised as special offers or notifications from the platform.

“Unfortunately, until all students are back in the classroom full-time, educational institutions will continue to be a popular target for criminals, particularly since this sector has traditionally not prioritised its cybersecurity. However, the pandemic has made it clear that this has to change, especially since technology is increasingly being incorporated in the classroom—virtual learning or not,” Anton Ivanov, Security Expert at Kaspersky comments.

To help educators and their students stay secure when using digital tools in the classroom, Kaspersky has put together a variety of resources, including an online course that teaches cybersecurity best practices. You can explore the toolkit here: https://kas.pr/smy6

To stay safe from malware and other threats disguised as video conferencing apps /
online learning platforms:

• Do not download any unofficial versions or modifications of these applications/platforms. Look for information about the developer and choose the official app stores.
• Use different, strong passwords for each of your accounts. You do not need to remember them all if you use a solution like Kaspersky Password Manager that generates and secures unique passwords.
• Always make sure you are on the official company website before proceeding to download anything to your device. Fake websites may look just like the real thing, so you should always double-check the URL format and spelling of the company name
before you download anything.
• Use a reliable security solution like Kaspersky Security Cloud that delivers advanced protection on all your devices.

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