Ensuring protection against phishing is the greatest challenge to digital security. The attacks only seem to be rising, and the following headlines are a hint to the unavoidable need for stringent security measures in organizations:


HSA Removes Fake COVID Care Products

E-commerce websites in Singapore have been listing bizarre products on platforms such as Lazada, Carousell, Shopee, and Facebook. These products include test kits, herbs, traditional medicines, health supplements and hand sanitizers. Over 1,700 such products with misleading claims have been identified in the last three months. To enhance anti-phishing protection, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is strictly monitoring local e-commerce platforms. The HSA has sent out over 1,600 warning letters to the sellers of fake Covid19 products.

So far, 40+ COVID-19 test kit listings have been identified and removed. Sellers of these fake test kits may be liable for prosecution and would face imprisonment of up to a year or fine of SGD 20,000. 


Clop Leaks Data

U.S. pharmaceutical company ExecuPharm underwent a Clop ransomware attack on March 13, 2020. The adversaries exfiltrated 163 GB of data, and after some failed ransom payment negotiations in April, the attackers have now leaked a batch of their data on the dark web. The leaked data includes thousands of emails, database backups, accounting, and financial records, and other user documents.

This isn’t the first time Clop has outsmarted phishing prevention measures and leaked stolen data. Users must take these attacks seriously and avoid opening emails from unusual sources.


Formosa Petrochemical Corp Attacked

Just a day after a malware attack on top oil refiner CPC Corp., Taiwan, its business rival Formosa Petrochemical Corp., underwent a similar attack on May 5, 2020. To ensure protection from phishing, the company immediately shut down its computer systems. The attack didn’t disrupt any of its refining and petrochemical activities.

However, the gas stations won’t be able to compute their income for the day. Technical experts continue to work on restoring the system, but it’s still unknown how long this process will take.


India’s Aarogya Setyu With Flaws

The Aarogya Setyu app was created by the Indian government to track COVID positive patients across the nation. However, an ethical hacker identified some security issues which the opposition party calls a ‘surveillance system with no oversight.’ These flaws relate to the access of location data and display of COVID-19 stats on Home Screen, but these have been marked as minor bugs by the app creators.

Individuals must carefully read the app’s liability clause, which, in Aarogya Setu’s case, says that the Government of India isn’t accountable for any unauthorized access to users’ information.


Love Bug Creator Confesses After Two Decades

Onel de Guzman terrorized the world with the first significant computer virus back in May 2000. His “Love Bug” had infected over 45 million machines and caused monetary losses of over billions of pounds. The virus spread in the form of an email attachment entitled ‘LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU’ or ‘ILOVEYOU’ that concealed a malicious code.

Guzman had used the lack of phishing protection measures to his benefit back then and only confessed about the episode twenty years later in an interview for a book called Crime Dot Com.


protection from phishing


New Ransomware On Loose

One of the newest ransomware that is here to stay and extort people is LockBit. It is currently active in the U.S., the UK, India, China, Indonesia, Germany, and France. It operates in a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) model.

Defying anti-phishing tools, LockBit spreads fast and can infect over 200 systems within just a few hours. The ransomware comes with an escalation method that can bypass the User Account Control in Windows systems and is similar to contemporaries like Maze, Nemty, and Sodinokibi.


HMRC Removes Fake Sites

The U.K. ‘s Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has removed 292 fake websites that were trying to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic since March 23.

These attacks are hard to detect, and therefore, the CEO of Tessian – Tim Sadler, advises organizations to train their employees and to use anti-phishing solutions. Also, sharing of personal and financial details with unfamiliar websites must be avoided at all times.


York University Undergoes Cyber Attack

Last Friday, several servers and workstations of the York University were brought down by a cyber attack. The school shut down its online programs immediately to prevent phishing attacks. However, they are yet to disclose whether any sensitive information was stolen in the attack. 

The university advises all students to reset their passwords and thereby prevent phishing attacks. The University’s Student Union says that the students received no formal notice of the breach. But the silver lining is that York is now working with external forensic experts to investigate the attack.


Hackers Target Cisco Webex After Zoom

As the office space shifts from desks and conference rooms to video calling platforms, attackers use this influx of new users on Cisco Webex to launch phishing attacks. Over 5,000 highly convincing phishing emails have already been sent to users of the video conferencing platform Cisco Webex.

Like all phishing attacks, the emails ask users for urgent account verification because they have been blocked by the administrator. Attached comes a login link which, when clicked, leads the user to a page impersonating the real Cisco Webex sign-in page. This page steals all entered user account details and delivers them to an attacker-controlled server. Hence, users must take email phishing prevention measures seriously and refrain from entering personal data on pages associated with email attachments.


Australian Govt. Releases Migrant Information

Australia’s Home Affairs Department has kept a database with the personal details of 774,326 individuals in its migration system unprotected online. This data includes the age, country of birth, and marital status of applicants who sought jobs on the department’s SkillsSelect platform.

These details were discovered online by Guardian Australia. Monique Mann from the Australian Privacy Foundation says that the Australian government has consistently proved that it is not trustworthy. With all said and done, the Home Affairs Department has now brought the SkillsSelect platform offline. The platform is under maintenance to ensure protection from phishing in the future.