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The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has published a warning that financial institutes must be alert to criminal activities targeting Covid-19 vaccines and their distribution.

Examples of criminal activities are the sale of illegal vaccines. These include vaccines that have not yet been approved, counterfeit vaccines and the illegal sale of legitimate vaccines. Fraudsters try to persuade victims to pay to be vaccinated against the coronavirus earlier.

Ransomware and phishing

Cybercriminals are also targeting the laboratories and supply chain of the vaccines. To achieve this, they use techniques such as ransomware and phishing. Because of the high need for the vaccines, the criminals probably expect the victims to decide quickly to pay in the event of a ransomware attack. Fraudulent information about vaccines is shared in phishing messages.

Report fraudulent transactions

FinCEN asks financial institutions to report when they detect transactions that may be related to Covid-19 vaccine fraud. The authority indicates that this data is crucial to stop fraud and cybercrime, including those related to the Covid-19 vaccine.

North Korea

It is not just everyday cybercriminals who are trying to gain something out of the coronavirus. Last month, North Korean hackers turned out to be targeting the British-Swiss pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The attack was unsuccessful, but the hackers were presumably trying to use the stolen information to resell for profit, extort the victims or give foreign governments a strategic advantage in combating the coronavirus.