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Cyber criminals are nothing if not opportunists–exploiting any vulnerabilities they find in software, hardware, and people’s good nature–to steal data, extract ransom payments, and cause disruption.
In 2020, cyber criminals were merciless in the way they exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage, and this is likely to continue in 2021 with opportunities to exploit you through information on the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report 2019, 94% of malware is delivered via phishing emails, and 32% of overall data security breaches involve phishing.
In 2021, expect to see your inbox bombarded with phishing emails purporting to contain “important vaccination information”, “your COVID-19 vaccination appointment” or other vaccine-related content that staff will naturally be tempted to open and read.
These emails will likely include an attachment that claims to contain information about making an appointment for a vaccination, but which actually contains malware such as ransomware.
How to mitigate the threat
The best way to tackle the threat of phishing attacks is to never click on links or open attachments in emails you are not expecting and cannot guarantee the origin.