Kaspersky, a global cybersecurity and digital privacy company, says it has recorded more than 5,000 fraudulent sites worldwide related to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic last year.
It added that it has also prevented more than one million users’ attempts to visit these sites during this period, disclosing that the most common schemes used by cybercriminals are fake offers for various payments and discount tests for COVID-19.
“In most cases of pandemic-related fraud, the goal of cybercriminals is to obtain users’ data. Phishing is often used for this: a user follows a link from an advert or email and gets to a page where he is asked to enter personal information and bank card details. Having obtained such information, attackers can use it, for example, to steal money from banking accounts. Therefore, if you see a message about COVID-19, we recommend that you always double-check the information in official sources and do not leave your personal data on suspicious sites,” comments Alexey Marchenko, Head of Content Filtering Methods Development Department at Kaspersky.
Recently, phishing adverts selling fake QR codes and certificates for visiting public places and events have become popular. In the first half of 2021, Coronavirus-related fraudulent activity peaked in March. However, despite the fact that after that, experts observed a slight decline for some time, cybercriminals re-activated in June 2021: in this month the company detected and blocked 14% more phishing resources than a month earlier.