COVID-Related Phishing Attacks Return to Mid-Pandemic Heights

COVID-related phishing attacks have reemerged, and you should pay particular attention to them.

Understanding a phishing attack

And in case you don’t have a clear picture of what phishing attacks are, here is a refresher.  Phishing is a type of social engineering that is used to steal user data, login credentials, and personal financial info.

The phishing attack is successful when the hacker, masquerading as a trusted colleague or friend, dupes the victim into opening an email.  The victim is tricked into clicking on a malicious link within the message, which most often leads to the installation of malware, reveals sensitive information, or freezes the entire system as part of the ransomware attack.

Vaccine related phishing attacks rose by 530%

Reports show that cyber criminals are using COVID-themed phishing attacks to trick their potential victims.

Here are some recent stats relating to these types of attacks:

  • Phishing attacks targeting pharmacies and hospitals have increased by 189%
  • Vaccine related phishing attacks have increased by 530%
  • Microsoft 365 accounts have become the top targets
  • This spring, the number of new phishing URLs reached the same level as August of last year.

What does this mean for you?

The bad guys know their audience well, and they can adapt and change tactics very quickly, especially when it comes to something as serious as COVID-19.  It is critical to stay current with updates on the latest scams, themes, and social engineering methods used by cyber-hackers.

If you are interested in reading a more detailed report developed by Paloalto’s Unit 42, please follow this link:

Fake Websites Used in COVID--19 Themed Phishing Attacks