Cyber Criminals Try to Infiltrate WHO Systems

The recent attack was thwarted, according to the UN agency's chief security officer. The WHO has been increasingly targeted by hackers as the coronavirus spreads worldwide

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Hostile actors attempted to break into the networks of the World Health Organization earlier this month.

Flavio Aggio, chief information security officer for the UN agency, was quoted by Reuters as saying the attack was neutralized. The identity of the hackers was not known. 

Aggio said the hackers set up a malicious website in an effort to try to steal passwords from agency staff.

The CISO noted the recent "big increase" in cyber targeting of the WHO, with attacks on the organization and use of impersonations more than doubling amid the spread of the pandemic.   

According to Reuters, Alexander Ubelis, a cybersecurity expert from Blackstone Law Group who tracks suspicious internet domains, informed the news agency that around March 13 hackers activated a site similar to WHO's internal e-mail system.  

Unnamed sources were said to suspect that the DarkHotel hacker group, reportedly operating for over a decade, was responsible for the attack on the UN agency.

In February, the WHO issued a warning that hackers are trying to use the coronavirus crisis to steal sensitive data and money. "If you are contacted by a person or organization that appears to be from WHO, verify their authenticity before responding," it said.

For example, cyber criminals posing as the UN agency's director sent e-mails claiming to have essential COVID-19 info, but the mails actually contained a link that infects devices with malware.

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