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CERT-In warns of phishing campaign against Indian citizens, businesses; North Korean group may be behind the campaign

cyber crime, phishing

Malicious actors were expected to launch a large-scale phishing campaign against Indian citizens and businesses under the pretext of dispensing government funds for COVID-19 related initiatives on June 21, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) warned in an advisory (archived here) on June 19. Although CERT-In has not attributed this campaign to any organisation or country, it has given two references that contend that the North Korean, state-sponsored Lazarus Group is behind this attack (more on that below), one of which is a report by Singapore-based cybersecurity firm Cyfirma, while the other is a Zee News article based on the Cyfirma report. Modus operandi The malicious actors will impersonate government agencies, departments, and trade associations that are responsible for overseeing the disbursement of COVID-19 related financial aid. They will spoof or create email addresses that look like ncov2019[@]gov.in. Emails with the subject “Free COVID-19 testing for all residents of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Ahmedabad” will be sent to two million individual/citizen email addresses that the malicious actors have. Clicking on links in these emails will take recipients to fake websites where they could be deceived into downloading malicious files or entering personal and financial information. According to the advisory, the email may look like the following: [caption id="attachment_216610" align="aligncenter" width="689"] What the email may look like. Source: CERT-In[/caption] Is North Korea’s Lazarus Group behind the attack? Singapore-based Cyfirma, which also has offices in Bangalore and Tokyo, reported that the Lazarus Group is planning this phishing campaign that will…

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