A COVID-19 Phishing Caper

COVID-19 Phishing CaperA new phishing campaign is exploiting the ongoing uncertainty about company policies related to COVID-19, according to Roger Kay at INKY. The campaign uses emails that purport to come from a company’s HR office informing employees that they’re required to fill out a COVID-19 vaccination status form. Clicking on the link in the email will take the user to a Microsoft Outlook credential phishing page.

“This campaign was able to bypass existing email security in a number of ways,” Kay says. “It sent the lures from legitimate but hijacked email accounts to evade standard security checks. If the recipient clicked through, they were taken to a hijacked web page that impersonated a trusted brand. Because the phishers used a hijacked site, their exploit had not yet appeared on any threat intelligence feed. The sally was effectively a zero-day attack. Now that it’s been discovered and reported, any email security products that reference such feeds can find it, but it’s a little late for the first victims targeted by the campaign.”

Kay also notes that the emails are sent from compromised email accounts, which further added to their legitimacy.

“While the pitches appeared to be local, in fact, they all originated from various legitimate — but hijacked — external accounts,” Kay says. “This legitimacy enabled them to pass standard email authentication (i.e., SPF, DKIM, and DMARC).”

Kay explains that this phishing campaign uses the following tactics:

  • “The exploitation of current events — capitalizes on the uncertainty, fear, and urgency related to Covid-19 vaccinations and plans to return to the office
  • “Brand impersonation — uses elements of a well-known brand to make an email look as if it came from that company
  • “Credential harvesting — occurs when a victim thinks they are logging in to one of their resource sites but is actually entering credentials into a dialogue box owned by the attackers
  • “Compromised email accounts — are used by phishers to pass most security software tests, allowing phishing emails to slip past corporate defences and into hapless recipients’ inboxes”

New-school security awareness training can enable your employees to recognize the hallmarks of social engineering attacks.

INKY has the story.

Free Phishing Security Test

Would your users fall for convincing phishing attacks? Take the first step now and find out before bad actors do. Plus, see how you stack up against your peers with phishing Industry Benchmarks. The Phish-prone percentage is usually higher than you expect and is great ammo to get budget.

PST ResultsHere's how it works:

  • Immediately start your test for up to 100 users (no need to talk to anyone)
  • Select from 20+ languages and customize the phishing test template based on your environment
  • Choose the landing page your users see after they click
  • Show users which red flags they missed, or a 404 page
  • Get a PDF emailed to you in 24 hours with your Phish-prone % and charts to share with management
  • See how your organization compares to others in your industry

Go Phishing Now!

PS: Don't like to click on redirected buttons? Cut & Paste this link in your browser:


Topics: Phishing, COVID-19

Subscribe to Our Blog

Comprehensive Anti-Phishing Guide

Get the latest about social engineering

Subscribe to CyberheistNews