COVID-19 Phishing Campaigns are more Targeted and Harder to Detect

A new report from ProPrivacy shows COVID-19 phishing campaigns are becoming more targeted and increasingly harder to detect.

Scams are becoming more sophisticated as the pandemic rolls on.

In partnership with VirusTotal and WHOIS XML, ProPrivacy has scanned over 600,000 COVID-19 related domains and discovered over a quarter were potential threats. Here are some key finding from this study:

  • As many as 1,200 COVID-related domains are still registered each day
  • ‘Mask’ has been the most common keyword theme amongst sites, with ‘Testing’ and ‘Zoom’ also featuring prominently
  • Threat intelligence vendors and registrars will struggle to detect new vectors
  • GoDaddy is the most abused web hosting provider for COVID-related campaigns. Having hosted over 30,000 potentially harmful domains, amounting to 37% of our database
  • Amateur scammers benefit from the ability to purchase ‘phishing for beginners’ software on the dark web

“These malicious campaigns have moved underground and are now addressing our most intimate concerns. When will my children return to school? Will I lose my job? It is these – truly human – questions that will fuel the ‘second peak’ of malicious activity. This is the next battlefront in the digital pandemic.” said Sean McGrath, lead researcher on the project.

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