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Scammers strike as Omicron takes root

by AKANI CHAUKE 
JOHANNESBURG – PHISHING attacks themed on the Omicron variant of the coronavirus are surging as the globe grapples with the mutating pandemic.

In South Africa, the scam comes as the country enters adjusted Level 1 restrictions.

The country is emerging from the fourth wave but scammers are making the most of the relaxations to perpetrate the swindle.

A new phishing email is going around.

It reads, “This letter is to inform you that you have been exposed to a coworker who tested positive for OMICRON variant of COVID-19. Please take a look at the details in the attached document.”

According to experts, if the victim opens the Excel document and enables macros, their device will be infected with the Dridex banking Trojan.

The document will then display a pop-up showing the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline number.

“Over the past few weeks, one of the Dridex phishing email distributors is having fun toying with victims and researchers,” said Lawrence Abrams, owner of Bleeping Computer.

He noted that as Dridex phishing campaigns are currently using password-protected attachments, enterprises need to train their employees to spot and avoid these types of attacks.

According to KnowBe4 Africa, social engineering such as phishing is one of the most popular ways for cyber criminals to access systems to steal data, credentials and money.

In South Africa, a 2021 survey found that 32 percent of respondents had fallen victim to ransomware.

Social engineering was the top root cause of ransomware.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents who fell victim to ransomware pointed to social engineering as the method used by attackers to access their systems.

Attackers commonly use topical issues such as major news or trending themes to lure their victims.

– CAJ News

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