COVID-19 phishing scams explode on the Dark Web

12.12.2020 | 20:11

Security firms have warned of an increase in scams linked to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Phishing and dark web sales requiring cryptocurrency have become a big problem.

Users must be vigilant so as not to find themselves victims of fraud

Two security companies, Check Point and KnowBe4, have alerted the world to a growth in phishing campaigns that use the pretext of a Covid-19 vaccine as bait.

It finally happened: Hackers are using Covid-19 vaccine promises to steal your information. According to a study published by Check Point and Bitcoin Era, there has been a noticeable increase in suspected vaccine advertisements on the Dark Web in the past few days.

A particular example of phishing is an email promising access to COVID-19 vaccines which, in effect, grants access to the Agent Tesla (RAT) spyware trojan.

Phishing typically comes in the form of an authentic looking website that then steals information from a user when they log in. Other scams are as simple as asking a user to buy products through WhatsApp or Telegram, promising prescription pills in addition to COVID-19 vaccines.

A more sophisticated hack scam exploits stolen Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine data to scare users into giving up their credentials.

Eric Howes of KnowBe4 said fear tactics were a big part of these new scams. He said the crooks were preying on user insecurity by asking these questions:

Protecting yourself from COVID-19 scammers

Users should be wary of any vaccine, warns Check Point’s Oded Vanunu. He explained that people naturally search the internet for vaccines and information, but that such research could lead to criminals on the dark web.

Ways to avoid being scammed include checking email addresses before clicking on any links and knowing any hyperlinks that contain domain names or misspelled words. Anything that had highly manipulative and emotional / alarmist language was also a warning sign.

Rather than clicking on links, users can search for businesses on Google to make sure they’re using legitimate URLs. In general, it’s a good idea to never give out login information in response to an email.

Vanunu also suggested that users use two-factor authentication and regularly check their financial accounts.

Vaccines for sale!

The „sellers“ also claim to sell vaccines on the dark web. A con artist appears to be selling Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines for $ 250 a one. Since these vaccines need to be cooler than the Arctic to remain viable, the chances of the ads being genuine will likely be nil.

Some researchers have surveyed crooks to prepare for a bogus sale. With a supposed supplier, the vaccines were offered for 0.01 BTC / piece. These vaccines were not specified by brand and required 14 doses to work. The same vendor also had the allegedly ineffective hydroxychloroquine for sale .

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