Cyberattacks Aimed at WHO Double Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the world, malicious cyber-attackers are seeking to take advantage of the situation by launching new coronavirus-related attacks. And according to the World Health Organization (WHO) CISO, Flavio Aggio, those attacks have more than doubled amid the crisis.

“Cybercriminals have long used crisis situations to further their own agendas, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception; in the past, we’ve seen similar situations with Hurricane Katrina and the earthquakes in Japan. Unfortunately, healthcare organisations and hospitals — which are at the centre of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic — can find themselves in the crosshairs,” says Costin Raiu, Director of Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team.

WHO has long been a dependable platform for reliable, factual information and advice in the global health sphere. It’s for this reason, Raiu believes, that the organisation is a desirable target for cybercriminals.

“When it comes to the targeting of healthcare organisations, cybercriminals are usually looking to gather sensitive or scientifically significant information and either hold it for ransom or sell it on the black market.”


According to Forbes writer, Davey Winder, “the attacks seem to have started when hackers, thought to be DarkHotel, established a fake site that impersonated the internal email system used by the WHO”. The initial attack, however unsuccessful, was later confirmed by Aggio.

In light of the recent attacks, Cybersecurity solutions company, Kaspersky, has offered to help healthcare organisations fight these cyberthreats by providing free access to B2B products.

Edited by Jenna Delport
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