covid: Omnicron: Why you need to be beware of those Covid-19 test mails – Times of India
The Covid cases are dominating headlines once again due to the rise in numbers across the country as well as the spread of Omicron variant. And like the beginning of the pandemic, hackers are back at exploiting the pandemic to conduct more attacks. As the demand for Covid tests increased over the past weeks, so has the number of scams exploiting the scarcity of tests, warns Barracuda researchers. According to the research firm, it has witnessed a spike in Covid-test-related phishing attacks over the past couple of months. Since early October 2021, test-related scams have increased by 521%.
Scammers have reportedly been opting for different tactics to get the attention of their victims. They are sending offers on emails to sell Covid tests and other medical supplies such as masks or gloves. Some of these are selling counterfeit or otherwise unauthorized products. Fake notifications of unpaid orders of Covid tests are being sent out where scammers have provided a PayPal account to receive payments to complete the purchase of rapid Covid tests, counting on the desperation of their victims. Malicious fraudsters have also been impersonating healthcare workers and lab test providers as legitimate employees to share fake test results.
As some organizations try to get their staff back to the office, they send out updated policies or request information on employees’ vaccination status. Hackers hijack these conversations. In one specific example found in Barracuda’s research, cybercriminals impersonated an HR department and shared a file hosted on a phishing site with employees in hope of stealing their account credentials. The attackers went as far as impersonating the Office 365 logo and stating that the document has already been scanned for virus and spam content.
Sharing his insights on such attacks, James Forbes-May, Vice President, APAC at Barracuda Networks said, “Covid-19 has disrupted everyone’s health and mental sanity for almost 2 years now. The latest variant has brought yet another opportunity for the scammers to take advantage of the people seeking COVID-19 tests. So, it is crucial to stay mindful while clicking on suspicious links or opening attachments in these unexpected emails and divulging any personal information when seeking a test, regardless of it being a legitimate site.”
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