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, the Head of Content Filtering Methods Development at
Mr. Dipesh Kaura, the General Manager of 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 to:
- Be skeptical of any unusually generous offers and promotions
- Do not follow links from suspicious emails, instant messages or social
- 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.