Criminals are disguising malware as popular video conferencing tools, and hiding malicious links within copycat emails that appear to be a Microsoft Teams meeting invitation.

The number of malware campaigns posing as popular video conferencing tools rose by more than 1,000% in a year, a new report from Atlas VPN has found. Analyzing data obtained by cybersecurity experts Kaspersky, Atlas VPN says that the number of malicious files disguised as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Webex, HighFive, Lifesize, Join.me, Flock, or Gotomeeting rose from 90,000 in March 2020 to 1.05 million in February 2021. That’s a 12x increase in just 12 months.

Beware of Phishing Sites

The modus operandi is simple – criminals first create a fake website of the video conferencing tool provider. Then, they would spread the word of these websites through phishing email campaigns, luring victims to download what they think is a legitimate video conferencing tool, but is actually malware.

Together with the rising number of malware, the number of phishing sites was also seen to have risen sharply. Google detected a record-high 2.11 million phishing sites in 2020, representing a growth of 43%, compared to the year before.

To stay safe, experts recommend remaining skeptical of all the emails that come with links or attachments. Before clicking, or downloading anything, users are advised to double-check the legitimacy of the source. Usually, the domain from which the email is being sent has an extra letter or a seemingly inconspicuous typo.

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