New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: At a time when the country is struggling with the coronavirus crisis, hackers may launch a large-scale cyber-attack against several government agencies, media houses, pharma companies and telecom operators on Sunday, the Centre has warned.

In an advisory, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team or the CERT-In – India’s cybersecurity nodal agency – has warned that a phishing attack campaign by “malicious actors” is expected to begin on June 21 and it could impersonate individuals and businesses.

The CERT-In further noted that hackers can launch the cyber-attack by using email IDs such as ncov2019@gov.in and they are expected to send malicious emails under the pretext of local authorities that are in charge of dispensing government-funded coronavirus support initiatives.

"The phishing campaign is expected to use malicious emails under the pretext of local authorities in charge of dispensing government-funded COVID-19 support initiatives. Such emails are designed to drive recipients towards fake websites where they are deceived into downloading malicious files or entering personal and financial information," CERT-In said in an advisory.

The CERT-In warned that hackers might send emails with the subject line: free COVID-19 testing for all residents of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Ahmedabad in a bid to coax users to disclose personal information. "It has been reported that these malicious actors are planning to spoof or create fake email IDs impersonating various authorities," it cautioned.

Asking people not to open the attachments in unsolicited emails even if it comes from people in the contact list, the CERT-In outlined a list of steps on how users can protect themselves and said that any such activity should be reported immediately at incident@cert-in.org.in with logs and email headers for analysis of the attacks.

According to a ZDNet report, the attack is part of the Lazarus Group's large-scale campaign targeting more than 50 lakh individuals and businesses, including small and large enterprises.

The report further said that the attack would include 8,000 organisations in Singapore where the business contacts highlighted in an email template were addressed to members of the Singapore Business Federation (SBF).

"The North Korean hacker group is looking to gain financially from the campaign, where targeted email recipients will be asked to visit fraudulent websites and lured into revealing their personal and financial data," according to Singapore-headquartered cybersecurity vendor Cyfirma.

"The targeted Singapore businesses would reportedly receive phishing email messages -- written in Chinese -- from a spoofed Ministry of Manpower account, supposedly offering additional payouts for employees under the government's Covid-19 support packages," it added.

(With agency inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma