COVID-19 Themed Templates for Hackers

Hackers use COVID-19 Themed TemplatesNew, Sophisticated Hacking Techniques in the Age of COVID-19

Hackers are using new methods to create very credible looking, fake websites to steal login credentials. Security firms are seeing an increase in the use of website templates to create phishing websites that look and feel like the real thing. These templates, available on underground forums and marketplaces, are a quick and easy way for criminals to create convincing, fake websites to steal information. The known templates mimic websites from the World Health Organization (WHO), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the United Kingdom government, the government of Canada, and the government of France. Many of these templates have multiple working pages to make them look more realistic. The template that mimics the government of Canada even has English and French segments.

More than half of the phishing campaigns recorded since January are using these new spoof templates to fool consumers. Hackers are using normal phishing techniques, creating urgency by claiming recipients will lose benefits, or reporting a breakthrough on the pandemic. The difference is the use of these templates to create very convincing fake websites. This change in strategy has been effective, resulting in an increase in successful phishing attacks.

Below are some examples of the fake phishing site templates:

This fake CDC site is asking user to authenticate with an email service to generate a vaccine ID.

Fake IRS Page

This fake IRS website created from an available template goes a step further, asking users to enter SSN, DOB, and other private identity information.

Avoid falling prey to these new phishing campaigns by being aware of the links you click on in emails. If an email is creating urgency or preying on emotion (click on this link now or you will lose your vaccine benefits!), the email is probably a scam. Instead of clicking the link, go to the known government website and look for the information. The criminals are making it more difficult to differentiate the fake websites and using emotion to get users to click. Stay informed and think before you click.

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Posted by Charles Wright