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Cybersecurity Scam of the Week – COVID-19 Vaccine Phishing Scams Up 26% in Three Months

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Vaccine-related phishing and business email compromise (BEC) attempts have jumped 26% in a recent three-month period, as scammers ramped up their efforts against organizations, according to Barracuda Networks, an IT security company.

They analyzed phishing emails between October 2020 and January 2021. It revealed that, while the volume of vaccine-related spear-phishing attacks increased by 12% following announcements from Pfizer and Moderna in November 2020, this figure had more than doubled by the end of January 2021, after successful rollouts of the vaccine.

Barracuda Networks also spotted BEC scams attempting to trick recipients into making fund transfers. Two ways of doing so are by impersonating employees requesting an urgent favor “while they are getting a vaccine”, or HR managers requesting money for a batch of non-existent vaccines secured for employees.

Read the entire Barracuda report.

What has been reported to abuse@uthsc.edu this week?

  • [Ext] Payment ID: INV – email states it comes from “Uthsc-Finance” but it is actually an external email address
  • [Ext] Password Notification for Uthsc – email states is comes from “Uthsc”, but it is actually an email from the University of New Mexico. Looks like someone’s credentials there were compromised.
  • **No Subject** – the start of a gift card scam, a couple of department chair’s names were spoofed to look like it came from them, but the email address was a Gmail account. The scammer is asking for a cell number to continue a conversation outside of our network.
  • [Ext] Re: Investment Partnership – offering a “too good to be true” off shore business investment opportunity.

Keep reporting suspicious emails to abuse@uthsc.edu for examination and any other inquiries for the Office of Cybersecurity should be directed to itsecurity@uthsc.edu.