From March 2020 to July 2021, the global cybersecurity company prevented over a million user attempts to visit these sites*.
To better understand how scammers exploit the epidemiological challenge, Kaspersky experts analyzed pandemic-related spam emails and phishing pages designed to steal users’ credentials.
Various fake payment offers and discounted COVID-19 tests are among the most common schemes used by cybercriminals. Recently, phishing ads for fake QR codes and vaccination certificates for restaurants and public events have become popular.
Pandemic-related scamming activity peaked in March 2021. Kaspersky researchers observed a slight decline in June, before cybercriminals intensified their efforts. During this month, Kaspersky products detected and blocked 14% more pandemic-related phishing websites than they did in May.
“In most pandemic-related fraud, cybercriminals aim to obtain user data. Phishing is often used for this: a user follows a link from an ad or email and gets to a page where they are asked to enter personal information and bank card details. Once they have this information, attackers can use it to steal money from a target’s accounts. If you see a message about the pandemic, we recommend you always double-check the information is from an official source and never give your personal data to suspicious sites,” comments Alexey Marchenko, Head of Content Filtering Methods Development at Kaspersky.
Mr. Dipesh Kaura, General Manager, Kaspersky (South Asia) commented, “The increase in the number of phishing attacks related to covid19 tests and vaccinations show how cybercriminals are always looking out for opportunities to plan their attacks and are in sync with the current trends that may help them gain greater attention of their potential victims. For cybercriminals, exploiting vulnerabilities through a phishing attack means minimal investment and great profits, which is why phishing attacks are the most common type of attacks targeted at individual internet users. In order to stay away from such potential attacks, it is imperative for internet users to have a reliable security solution in their device, as well as to stay aware, and be careful of malicious links, documents, etc at all times. If an offer seems too good to be true, then may be it is a potential scam, and users online should try and stay away from such offers in order to avoid being a potential victim.”
In order to avoid falling victim to a scam, Kaspersky also advises users:
·Be skeptical of any unusually generous offers and promotions
·Do not follow links from suspicious emails, instant messages or social network communications
·Always check the authenticity of any unknown website you visit
·Use a reliable security solution, such as Kaspersky Security Cloud, that identifies malicious attachments and blocks phishing sites
*Anonymous data based on Kaspersky product detections for March 2020 to July 2021.
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An example of a phishing website offering breathing masks