Kathmandu, March 26
Department of Justice (DoJ) had been busy cracking down malicious websites created with the intention of luring victims during the current pandemic. Most recent bust by DoJ occurred on Sunday when it raised its first federal court action against online fraud.
The authorities cracked down on a website that claimed to give out coronavirus vaccine kits. In reality, it was stealing victims’ payment card data and personal information.
The website “coronavirusmedicalkit.com” was pretending to give away free coronavirus vaccine kits. On top of that, it claimed that the World Health Organization (WHO) manufactured the kits according to the DoJ court documents. In reality, it was nothing but a wire fraud scheme. First, the frauds asked buyers to enter their payment card information on the website in order to pay a shipping fee of $4.95. Then, they would steal the personal information of buyers to perform fraudulent purchases and identity theft.
The DoJ reported that there are no legitimate COVID-19 vaccines currently and WHO is certainly not distributing any. The website was down by following the actions taken by the DoJ. With the investigation still going on, DoJ ordered the site’s host, NameCheap, to immediately take down the website.
“In response to the department’s request, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman issued a temporary restraining order requiring that the registrar of the fraudulent website immediately take action to block public access to it.” – According to the Report of DoJ in a Sunday post.
Cybercrime through the Fraudulent Website
The fraud website used a photograph of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at National Institutes of health, to appear legitimate.
In fact, there was an instruction to prepare the vaccine for use. “You just need to add water, and the drugs and vaccines are ready to be administered,” the website said.
The fraudulent coronavirus vaccine kit website. (Image credit: DoJ)
“There are two parts to the kit: One holds pellets containing the chemical machinery that synthesizes the end product, and the other holds pellets containing instructions that tell the drug which compound to create. Mix two parts together in a chosen combination, add water, and the treatment is ready.”
The DoJ’s action comes in response to the cybercriminals trying to use the fear of pandemic to launch a cyberattack. There are other cases of malicious emails using the theme of coronavirus to launch phishing and malware attacks.
Even Facebook, among other companies, had announced that it will block advertisements claiming to ‘cure’ the coronavirus. Other social media platforms are doing their bits to stop the spread of misinformation regarding the COVID-19.
Update on Coronavirus Vaccine
Although the fraudulent website claimed the vaccine to be legitimate, the WHO has not published any sort of confirmation for a possible vaccine.
“To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019”, the WHO has informed on an official page. “Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.”