As the number of novel coronavirus cases has started spiking in New Jersey, so too has the amount of cyber schemes and hack-attacks.

“Certainly we’ve seen an uptick since this virus has really started spreading,” said Jared Maples, the director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.

“Bad actors are trying to take advantage of what they think may be a lessening of focus on cyber security and trying to breach certain systems.”

He noted a lot of information is being distributed electronically about COVID-19.

“They’re using that, of course, because of the heightened public interest to get you to click on an attachment or a link and that’s what we want the public to focus on is make sure before you click, think before you click," he said.

Maples said one thing to look out for in any kind of email is misspelled words or "the email just doesn’t look quite right, doesn’t make sense — Dunkin Donuts is spelled wrong, for example. That was one we saw a while back.”

State and federal authorities last week warned that foreign powers were responsible for a fake text message about a national "two week quarantine" implemented by U.S. Homeland Security and the National Guard.

On Friday night, the White House said "there is disinformation regarding the Coronavirus coming from China, Russia, Iran, and others. Disinformation includes texts with fake rumors about a national lockdown. Follow guidance from state and local authorities for real updates."

He noted since the novel coronavirus started spreading, there has also been a surge in phony remedies.

Maples also said with so many workers and students now staying at home, the state Office of Homeland Security has been staying in constant communication with the major service providers in New Jersey “regarding capacity, regarding making sure they can handle the influx. There has been a huge surge obviously in use of WiFi, in use of the internet across the state.”

Information to prevent malicious cyber attacks can be found on Jersey’s Homeland Security website.

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