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Cyber Crims Turn To Covid-19 Themed Scams

CANBERRA: Cybercrime operators have been registering Covid-19 themed Web sites to conduct widespread phishing campaigns that can harvest personal information from unsuspecting Australians, according to the spooky Australian Signals Directorate.

According to the ASD, “cybercrime actors” have been fine-tuning their online criminal methods to take advantage of the current pandemic. This has seen the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) – part of the ASD – each month receive about 4400 cybercrime reports and respond to 168 cyber security incidents.

Since March 10, matters have been hotting up. In that time, the centre has received more than 95 cybercrime reports about Australians losing money or personal information to Covid-19 themed scams and online frauds; responded to 20 cyber security incidents affecting Covid-19 response services; and disrupted more than 150 malicious Covid-19 themed Web sites.

“Cybercrime actors are registering Covid-19 themed Web sites to conduct widespread phishing campaigns that distribute malicious software (malware) or harvest personal information from unsuspecting Australians,”  the ASD adds.

“The ACSC is observing new phishing campaigns that align with breaking developments, such as government relief payments or public health guidance, within days – even hours  – of these announcements occurring.”

ASD notes that since March 10, the ACCC’s Scamwatch has received more 1100 reports about Covid-19 scams, with almost $130,000 in reported losses.

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