In a ferocious attempt to destabilize Covid-19 vaccination programme, the cyberattacks on pharmaceutical companies have increased by over 12% and are understood to have increased cumulatively by over 26% since top pharma giants including Pfizer and Moderna announced the availability of vaccines in November 2020. According to a recent report and by the end of January 2021, the average number of attacks was up 26 per cent
According to a study by researchers at cloud-enabled security solutions provider Barracuda Networks, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the heightened fear and uncertainty prevailing around the Covid-19 vaccine to launch attacks using urgency, social engineering, and other common tactics to lure victims.
The report claimed that while most vaccine-related phishing attacks analysed by the researchers were scams, many used more targeted techniques such as brand impersonation and business email compromise. Vaccine-related phishing emails impersonated a well-known brand or organisation and included a link to a phishing website advertising early access to vaccines, offering vaccinations in exchange for a payment, or even impersonating health care professionals requesting personal information to check eligibility for a vaccine.
Business Email Compromise (BEC), which has been one of the most damaging email threats in the past few years, costing businesses over $26 billion dollars is now being used by attackers for vaccine-related topics, the report said.
“Interestingly, vaccine-related lateral phishing attacks have been spiking around the same time when major Covid-19 vaccines are announced and approved around the world,” Murali Urs, Country Manager-India, Barracuda Networks, said in a statement.