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Covid-related scams are still on the rise

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As the world moves into the next stage of the Covid-19 pandemic, cybercriminals are following close behind.

According to a new report from cybersecurity analysts Webroot, phishing lures have quickly shifted away from vaccines and towards Covid passports and traveling.

Analyzing malicious domains popping up since the start of the year, Webroot claims it spotted a 93 percent increase in malicious Covid-related domains that have the word “Travel” in the title. Month-on-month, Webroot has also seen a 79 percent increase in the use of the word “Passport” for the same purpose.

As lockdowns ease across the world, and people start preparing for what might be a relatively normal summer season, cybercriminals are looking to capitalize. During March this year, Webroot recorded a 169 percent increase in malicious domains that use common travel and holiday search terms.

At the same time, criminals seem to have moved on from trying to scam people with false information about Covid-19 tests. During the first quarter of the year, there was a 71 percent decrease in malicious domains that use words such as “testing” or “testkits”.

“The language used in these malicious domain names is highly reflective of current trends, and key events like travel bans introduced globally have a direct impact on how hackers create resources to trick people,” sid Nick Emanuel, Senior Director of Product at Webroot.

“For example, directly after travel bans were implemented, we saw the word ‘passport’ used in malicious domains mostly in the context of providing data on which countries were blocked – e.g. ‘Passportbancountries’ – rather than the context of preparing or enabling travel.”

“Cybercriminals are carefully grooming news and creating domains that will have a higher percentage of hits,” he concluded.