More than 5,000 fraudulent websites that used information related to the pandemic to lure victims have been detected since March of last year, according to data released by cybersecurity company Kaspersky. The goal was to steal logins from online platforms and even bank details.
Among the most common scams used by criminals are fake product offers such as protective masks and discounted covid-19 tests. Recently, another strategy used by scammers became the fake advertisement offering vaccination certificates and malicious QR Codes for payment in restaurants and for entering public events.
“In most cases, fraudsters aim to obtain personal data from Internet users and, for that, they bet on phishing, ” says the head of research for content filtering methods at Kaspersky, Alex Marchenko. The term comes from the English ” fishing ” (“fishing”) and refers to the idea of ”hooking” users through messages or fraudulent sites.
“Victims are sent to a fake page after clicking on a link in a message or advertisement. On this site, they are asked to enter personal information or bank card data,” he adds.
According to the company, pandemic-related scam activity peaked in March of this year, and in June, researchers observed a slight decline. Later that month, however, operations resumed intensifying with an increase of 14% compared to May.
To avoid falling victim to phishing, and cyber scams in general, the company advises always to be wary of overly generous offers and promotions and never click on incoming links in emails, instant messaging applications and social networks. The security solution installed on the devices must also be always up to date.