Jan 24—Cyber security researchers have found that phishing threats have increased by more than 500% amidst the latest coronavirus surge.
Why it matters
Cyber criminals commonly leverage themes found in the news cycle in order craft timely and relevant phishing campaigns. From February to March of last year, a 667% month-over-month surge in coronavirus-related phishing threats manifested.
Although threats have modestly subsided, every twist and turn within the coronavirus pandemic narrative prompts another wave of phishing threats. New public attention around the highly transmissible Omicron variant is creating opportunities for phishers.
Among the many phishing tricks that fraudsters use are offers of counterfeit or unauthorized coronavirus tests and protective equipment. Since the importance of N-95 masks has garnered further attention, phishers have found clever means of using this theme to their advantage. Phishers are also impersonating testing labs and individual health-sector employees.
Experts advocate for organizations to increase phishing awareness. In general, cyber security awareness shouldn’t be thought of as a single set of educational modules relegated to a specific ‘awareness day’. Rather, phishing awareness and cyber security awareness are best perceived as ripe for continuous, year-round educational opportunities.
Recent studies also show that a handful of healthcare workers are perpetuating a tremendous black market in digital coronavirus vaccination certificates and passes. In other words, a very limited number of healthcare workers are purchasing false certificates in order to keep jobs.