Google’s Webpage Warning About COVID-19 Related Online Scams Now Available in 4 Indic Languages

Google has added Indic language support to its dedicated webpage designed to help users avoid COVID-19 online security risks. As a result of the new move, the webpage, which is a part of the Google Safety website, is available in Bangla, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu languages in addition to the existing English and Hindi. The search giant brought the webpage last week with an aim to provide information about online risks and scams associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. A range of new scams including phishing emails posing as messages from charities and NGOs fighting the deadly disease has been detected by Google.

The latest update by Google has allowed users to visit the dedicated webpage in Bangla, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu languages. It provides the key points to spot and avoid online scams related to COVID-19. An image has also been featured on the webpage to give an example of how a phishing email falsely claiming to give a message about the pandemic can be seen. As mentioned, it was launched in English and Hindi last week.

Generally, phishing emails pose as messages from charities and NGOs battling COVID-19, directions from ‘administrators’ to employees working from home, and even notices spoofing healthcare providers. These emails contain fake links that 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, Google explains in a press note.

In addition to phishing emails, scammers may use SMS messages, automated calls, and malicious websites to catch their potential victims. Users are, therefore, advised to verify messages and calls they receive and avoid relying on random calls they get.

Google has provided tips to help users avoid COVID-19 related online scams

Google has placed its machine-learning classifiers to detect scams. The classifiers have globally seen 18 million daily malware and phishing attempts related to COVID-19, in addition to more than 240 million spam messages associated with the pandemic.

Last month, Google said that its Threat Analysis Group found hackers targeting international health organisations. Email and password details of nearly 25,000 healthcare workers at the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation among others were also reportedly dumped on the Web last month.

Solutions to restrict COVID-19 scams
The webpage that was launched in English and Hindi earlier also emphasise on adding two-factor authentication (2FA) to online accounts. Also, it provides links to report potentially suspicious content and share the given tips with others to help eradicate COVID-19 online scams.

How are we staying sane during this Coronavirus lockdown? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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