[Heads Up] First Omicron Phishing Attack Spotted In The UK



COVID-19-POST3Bleepingcomputer had the scoop. Phishing actors have quickly started to exploit the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant and now use it as a lure in their malicious email campaigns. Threat actors are quick to adjust to the latest trends and hot topics, and increasing people’s fears is an excellent way to cause people to rush to open an email without first thinking it through.

In this case, the Omicron variant is an emerging strain of COVID-19 that has scientists concerned over its high transmissibility and the potential ineffectiveness of existing vaccines against its mutations. 

This all makes it an ideal topic for phishing, as even the vaccinated are worried about how Omicron would affect them in the case of an infection. UK’s consumer protection organization ‘Which?’ published two samples of new phishing emails pretending to be from the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) warning about the new Omicron variant.

Sample of the NHS phishing email Source: Which?

These emails offer recipients a free Omicron PCR test that will allegedly help them "get around restrictions". To add trust in the emails, the malicious address used for distributing these emails is ‘contact-nhs@nhscontact.com’.  If the recipient clicks on the embedded “Get it now” button or taps on the URL in the email body, they are taken to a fake NHS website claiming to offer the "COVID-19 Omicron PCR test."

Fraudulent NHS website used for phishing Source: Which?

The victims are then directed to enter their full name, date of birth, home address, mobile phone number, and email address. Finally, they are requested to make a payment of £1.24 ($1.65), which is supposed to cover the delivery cost of the test results.

The purpose of this is not to steal the amount itself but the payment details of the victim, like the e-banking credentials or their credit card details. During that step, the victim is also requested to enter their mother’s name, which the actors could use to bypass security questions during a subsequent account takeover attempt.

What to do if you got scammed

If you think you might have entered your details on a fraudulent site, contact your bank immediately and cancel your compromised card/accounts. Monitor your bank accounts closely and review the transactions for any signs of unauthorized payments. If you receive an email that looks suspicious, report it at “report@phishing.gov.uk”. To report smishing texts, forward them to 7726.

Stepping your employees worldwide through new-school security awareness training helps them make smarter security decisions and creates a strong last line of defense. 

This is a cross-post with grateful acknowledgment to Bleepingcomputer.

 


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:

https://www.knowbe4.com/phishing-security-test-offer

Subscribe To Our Blog


Ransomware Hostage Rescue Manual




Get the latest about social engineering

Subscribe to CyberheistNews