Omicron Cyber Scams
9 December 2021
The new Omicron Covid-19 variant has not only led to the government reintroducing restrictions such as Work From Home, but cyber criminal gangs are using this new variant in a new phishing scam.
The new phishing scam has been created to look like an official communication from the NHS, and is targeting people with fake offers for free PCR tests for the new variant.
This new “variant of concern” is spreading rapidly around the world. Whilst this has caused distress for many people globally, especially those who are vulnerable themselves or have loved ones that are, it’s also created a new opportunity for cyber criminals to feed on those fears.
This wave of new phishing is being issued by text, email and even over the phone, with threat actors contacting people across the UK offering them what they say are new test kits specifically designed to detect the Omicron variant.
One of these emails read: “NHS scientists have warned that the new Covid variant Omicron spreads rapidly, can be transmitted between fully vaccinated people, and makes jabs less effective. However, as the new covid variant (Omicron) has quickly become apparent, we have had to make new test kits as the new variant appears dormant in the original tests.”
Alongside giving false information, the email is littered with grammatical errors. Should a victim click on the link at the bottom of the correspondence, they would be taken to a fake NHS page that asks for full name, date of birth, address, phone numbers and email address.
In addition to harvesting personal information, the site also asks for £1.24 as a delivery fee and mother’s maiden name which is often used as a finance security question, giving the cyber criminals access to the target’s banking information as well.
Like many other Covid-19-related phishing campaigns, this too relies on the target’s anxiety to cause them to overlook obvious signs of fraud. Researchers commented: “Phishing attacks and other scams often exploit emotions to get people to react quickly, without thinking things through logically. This new COVID-19 variant has significant emotional weight for people who are tired of lockdowns and the continuing impact of the pandemic, making it a powerful tool to get people to click.”
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is aware, but watchdogs have warned that other similar Omicron scams are likely to appear over the next several weeks – especially with the festive period in full swing and the reintroduction of working from home.
Not only do we all need to be more cautious with our potential exposure to the new Omicron variant, we must remain vigilant with our cyber security and threat awareness too. If you have High Value Home Insurance it’s likely to include an element of Cyber cover, so remember to check your policy.
Can Cyber Insurance help my business?
Whilst the new Omicron threat is targeted at individuals, it will be received on business devices. Now the government are imposing new Work From Home advice, cyber-criminals will tweak this to target businesses too – every change is a new opportunity for them to exploit.
Cyber insurance is more crucial than ever as attacks and data breaches increase in both frequency and sophistication. Having the right cover in place will support and protect your business in the event of a cyber attack or data breach. It not only provides comprehensive cover but will provide you with a trusted partner to support the business and get you working again.
Obtaining a quote for your business is a simple and straightforward, simply contact Charlotte.
Charlotte Perkins – Group Managing Director
[email protected] 0115 9420 111