Cybercriminals keen to cash in on vaccine interest


The past few months have seen plenty of news surrounding COVID-19 vaccines, from the buzz surrounding roll outs to fears of possible side effects.

As always with a major news event cybercriminals seek to exploit the opportunity it presents. Cloud-native email security company GreatHorn has identified a new pattern of techniques being used to exploit the unease of vulnerable email users by spoofing critical vaccine information.

From January this year both authentic and suspicious emails containing the word 'vaccine' have increased, but suspicious emails outpaced authentic emails by more than 50 percent of all email delivered. In the first week of March 2021 suspicious vaccine emails had doubled in quantity since January.


Vaccine-related phishing attacks have been discovered with links to a PDF supposedly a vaccination report, but actually a phishing link to get users to disclose their Office 365 login details. The email even contains the reassuring text, "secure files are scanned for viruses by Office 365 to fight against spam." The attackers also display a CAPTCHA screen as part of the login to further bolster the deception.

GreatHorn's blog notes, "While cybercriminals continue to prey on relevant and often urgent topics it becomes more difficult to detect and remediate the threats targeting your organization and users. Being able to analyze URLs, leverage machine vision to identify credential harvesting attempts, and understand historic communication patterns between senders and recipients becomes critical to maintaining control over your organization's data and systems."

You can read more and see screen shots of the attack on the GreatHorn blog.

Image credit: Oleg Elkov / Shutterstock

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