Cybersecurity experts have warned of phishing campaigns by cybercriminals aiming to leverage the hype around the vaccine roll-out, to trick unsuspecting users into potentially risky behaviour. Picture: African News Agency(ANA)
Cybersecurity experts have warned of phishing campaigns by cybercriminals aiming to leverage the hype around the vaccine roll-out, to trick unsuspecting users into potentially risky behaviour. Picture: African News Agency(ANA)

Phishing campaigns by cybercriminals aiming to leverage vaccine hype

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Mar 12, 2021

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Cape Town - Cybersecurity experts have warned of phishing campaigns by cybercriminals aiming to leverage the hype around the vaccine roll-out, to trick unsuspecting users into potentially risky behaviour.

Researchers from an email security firm Mimecast said they had detected email campaigns which included seemingly legitimate communication from HR departments asking recipients to register for surveys, view supposed vaccination schedules, or log into fake landing pages using their actual login details.

Cybersecurity expert Brian Pinnock said any person that made the mistake of clicking on the links in those emails or submitting their real login details to the false websites could not only compromise their own security, but potentially put their entire organisation at risk.

Pinnock said that highlighted the need for organisations to conduct regular cybersecurity awareness training to ensure every employee knew how to identify – and more importantly, avoid – risky behaviour.

“With interest in vaccine-related information at an all-time high as countries roll out Covid-19 vaccines, cybercriminals are seeing a golden opportunity to subvert user behaviour in their attempts at compromising company networks, with monetary gain the most likely objective,” said Pinnock.

Interpol secretary-general Jürgen Stock said Interpol had issued a global alert to law enforcement across its member countries warning them to prepare for organised crime networks targeting Covid-19 vaccines, both physically and online.

Stock said co-ordination between law enforcement and health regulatory bodies would play a vital role to ensure the safety of individuals and well-being of communities are protected.

“Criminal networks will also be targeting unsuspecting members of the public via fake websites and false cures, which could pose a significant risk to their health, even their lives.”

He said it was essential that law enforcement was as prepared as possible for what would be an onslaught of all types of criminal activity linked to the Covid-19 vaccine.

Cape Argus

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