Over 5K pandemic-related phishing websites luring people: Report

New Delhi: Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, over 5,000 pandemic-related phishing websites have surfaced, designed to steal users’ credentials via fake payment offers and discounted Covid tests, among others.

Recently, phishing ads for fake QR codes and vaccination certificates for restaurants and public events have become popular.

According to cyber security firm Kaspersky, from March 2020 to July 2021, it has prevented over a million user attempts to visit such phishing websites.

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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 per cent 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,” said Alexey Marchenko, Head of Content Filtering Methods Development at Kaspersky.

“Once they have this information, attackers can use it to steal money from a target’s accounts,” Marchenko added.

The increase in the number of phishing attacks related to Covid 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.

“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,” said Dipesh Kaura, General Manager, Kaspersky (South Asia).

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