Hacker watches a screen while a chart rises exponentially

Exponential increase in COVID related phishing campaigns since vaccine announcements began

Unfortunately, cyber criminals will exploit anything in an attempt to lure victims into their traps, and with the recent Covid-19 vaccine announcements, this is no different.

In March last year, at the start of the pandemic, phishing emails increased by 667% in a single month. While the velocity slowed, this trend has remained true since then, with a 94.8% increase of suspicious domain names including the word “vaccine” between December 8 2020 and January 6 2021 in comparison to the previous 30 day period, according to Webroot.  

Comparing this same 30 day period to March 2020, there has been a 336 % increase in these suspicious phishing domains. This unprecedented increase in phishing attempts is a strong indication of hackers taking advantage of the perfect platform the pandemic has created for these types of scams.

With increased internet use due to employees all over the world being forced to stay at home, people have been more susceptible to falling victim to these phishing campaigns.

Many specific vaccine scams are starting to appear, such as a mobile phone scam uncovered by several UK police forces. The message read that they are “eligible to apply for your vaccine.” The link then leads to a fake NHS phishing website, in which victims are asked to input bank details and other sensitive personal information.

“Remember, the vaccine is only available on the NHS and is free of charge. The NHS will never ask you for details about your bank account or to pay for the vaccine. If you receive an email, text message or phone call purporting to be from the NHS and you are asked to provide financial details, this is a scam.”

Pauline Smith – Head of Action Fraud

“The rise in COVID-related fraud highlights the need for a more centralized system for sharing information. This would undoubtedly help those that are concerned and who could be more vulnerable to such attacks,”

Jeremy Hendy – CEO, Skurio

According to Google, 2020 had a record number of phishing attempts, and there are no signs of this slowing down going into 2021.

Is your security awareness training good enough to help prevent one of these many phishing campaigns? Find out in our Free Click-Prone® Test today.

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