Vaccine-related phishing attacks jump by 26%

The number of vaccine-related emails used for phishing attacks has increased by 26 per cent since October.

Data from cloud security company Barracuda, which analysed phishing emails between October 2020 and January 2021, also found that the number of vaccine-related attacks increased by 12 per cent immediately following vaccine availability announcements from Pfizer and Moderna in November last year.

“Combatting this growing threat first requires individuals and employees to be sceptical of all vaccine-related emails, especially those offering early access to the vaccine, to join a waiting list, or have the vaccine shipped directly to you – as a precaution you should never click on links or open attachments in these emails,” said Fleming Shi, chief technology officer, at Barracuda Networks.“

Scammers are also adapting email tactics to bypass gateways and spam filters, so it’s critical to have a purpose-built solution that uses machine learning to analyse normal communication patterns within your organisation, so that it can also spot anomalies that may indicate an attack, or if an internal email has been compromised.

He added: “Finally, establishing strong internal policies and training staff on how to recognise and report all attacks, not just those pertaining to the vaccine, will be the most effective method to bolstering defences against the ever-evolving email attack threat facing you.”


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