Illinois REALTORS® should look carefully at emails and text messages as cyber criminals attempt to use the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic for their own personal gain.

A joint warning by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) stated that cybercriminals are targeting individuals and organizations with ransomware and malware.

For example, some scams appear to come from the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) and claim to offer face masks and thermometers to fight the outbreak. Cyber actors are looking to target people working from home and are looking for vulnerabilities in software and remote working tools, CISA reports.

“As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, bad actors are using these difficult times to exploit and take advantage of the public and business,” said Bryan Ware, CISA Assistant Director for Cybersecurity. “Our partnerships with the NCSC and industry have played a critical role in our ability to track these threats and respond.

“We urge everyone to remain vigilant to these threats, be on the lookout for suspicious emails and look to trusted sources for information and updates regarding COVID-19. We are all in this together and collectively we can help defend against these threats.”

The NCSC and CISA point to the recent problems with hackers trying to take over Zoom meetings and phishing emails targeting Microsoft Teams. For more details, read today’s alert from CISA.