Hackers Try to Compromise WHO’s Infrastructure amid Pandemic

Hackers tried using a phishing campaign to steal login credentials of officials working for the World Health Organization (WHO) by setting up a fake website. Fortunately, their efforts were thwarted and no damage was done.

One way to steal credentials is by setting up a fake website that’s very similar to the target and trying to trick people into using their user names and passwords. Besides data breaches, phishing campaigns can prove highly effective, especially in targeted strikes.

Unlike regular phishing campaigns, where messages are sent indiscriminately in the hopes that some people will fall for the ruse, the WHO attack was much more targeted, with the single goal of stealing login credentials.

According to a Reuters report, the incident was first spotted by Alexander Urbelis, a cybersecurity expert working for Blackstone Law Group in New York. The researcher noticed that cybercriminals set up a website similar to WHO’s internal email system. If the attack continued, WHO employees could have received emails asking them to confirm their login details, for example.

Fortunately, the attempt yielded no result, and the WHO’s security wasn’t compromised. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be attacked again. If the past month is any indication, the number of attacks is going to increase even further.

According to Bitdefender’s telemetry, the number of malicious reports related to Coronavirus increased by more than 475% in March from February. The most affected industries seem to be government, retail, hospitality, transportation, and education & research, but the healthcare domain is also heavily affected.

As the pandemic extends its grip across the world, we’ll start to see even more hospitals paralyzed by ransomware, just like recently happened in the Czech Republic. And the WHO is one of the biggest targets right now on the world stage.

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