New research has found scammers are registering thousands of “malicious” or “risky” COVID-19 related website domains each day.
These are websites suspected of containing malware – software used to damage or gain unauthorised access to a system, or are being used to phish users – luring them into providing sensitive data.
The majority of the risky domains were registered in the United States, where 29,007 domains were flagged. The US was followed by Italy (2,877), Germany (2,564), and Russia (2,456).
In total, Unit 42 researchers analysed 1.2 million newly registered COVID-19 related domains were created between March 9 to April 26, and found 86,600 were malicious or risky.
The flagged domains used keywords such as “covid”, “ncov”, “pandemic”, “vaccine,” “corona”, and “virus”.
The research group also found a number of the malicious domains were associated with multiple IP addresses. This ultimately makes IP-based firewalls ineffective, meaning it is harder for authorities to track and successfully block risky sites.
Over 70 per cent of the risky domains were hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS), the researchers found.
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