Be cautious of Omicron COVID-19 themed phishing messages

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Phishing actors have started exploiting the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant and are using it in their malicious email campaigns.

Threat actors easily take advantage of people’s fears as an excellent way to cause people to rush to open an email without first thinking it through.

Now, the Omicron variant which is an emerging strain of COVID-19 became an ideal topic for phishing, as even the vaccinated are worried about how Omicron would affect them in the case of an infection.

UK’s consumer protection organization ‘Which?’ published two samples of new phishing emails pretending to be from the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) warning about the new Omicron variant.

These emails provide recipients a free Omicron PCR test that will allegedly help them get around restrictions.

To gain trust in the emails, the malicious address used for distributing these emails is ‘contact-nhs@nhscontact.com’.

If the recipient clicks on the “Get it now” button that is embedded on the mail or taps on the URL in the email body, they are taken to a fake NHS website claiming to offer the “COVID-19 Omicron PCR test.”

The victims are then directed to enter their full name, date of birth, home address, mobile phone number, and email address.

Finally, they are requested to make a payment of £1.24 ($1.65), which is supposed to cover the delivery cost of the test results.

The aim of the threat actors is not to steal the amount but the payment details of the victim, such as the e-banking credentials or their credit card details.

The victim is also requested to enter their mother’s name, which the actors could use to bypass security questions during a subsequent account takeover attempt.

Those users who have entered their details on a fraudulent site must contact their bank immediately and cancel the compromised card/accounts.

Also keep an eye on the bank accounts and review the transactions for any signs of unauthorized payments.

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