who flag

World Health Organization Facing Cyber Attacks During Coronavirus Response

A malicious site imitating the WHO’s email system was created to collect the account information of the organization’s employees.

The World Health Organization is facing a “more than two-fold increase” in cyber attacks amid its efforts to organize a worldwide response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Reuters report.

Flavio Aggio, the WHO’s chief information security officer, said that the identity of the “elite” hackers who attempted to break into the organization’s cyber infrastructure is unclear. Their efforts were unsuccessful, Aggio added.

“There has been a big increase in targeting of the WHO and other cybersecurity incidents,” Aggio told Reuters. “There are no hard numbers, but such compromise attempts against us and the use of (WHO) impersonations to target others have more than doubled.”

Cybersecurity expert Alexander Urbelis flagged the attempted attack to Reuters after noticing that a group of hackers had created a malicious site imitating the WHO’s internal email system. The activity began around March 13, Urbelis said.

“I realized quite quickly that this was a live attack on the World Health Organization in the midst of a pandemic,” Urbelis said.

Read More: As Hospitals, Nursing Homes Battle Coronavirus, Security Companies Offer Assistance With Cybersecurity Attacks

He could not identify who was responsible, but several sources told Reuters that they suspect DarkHotel, a group of advanced hackers, is behind the incident.

Costin Raiu, the head of global research and analysis at cybersecurity firm Kapersky, said that while he could not confirm that DarkHotel was behind the WHO incident, the same type of attack is being used against healthcare organizations in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

“At times like this, any information about cures or tests or vaccines relating to coronavirus would be priceless and the priority of any intelligence organization of an affected country,” Raiu told Reuters.

Several cybersecurity firms have been tracking the creation of coronavirus-related websites, finding that a high percentage are malicious and trying to scam consumers out of their money and financial information.

Urbelis said that there are still at least 2,000 new domains registered each day, many of which contain malware or are scamming people: “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

Featured

  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    7 Ways You Can Secure a High-Traffic Commercial Security Gate  

    Your commercial security gate is one of your most powerful tools to keep thieves off your property. Without a security gate, your commercial perimeter security plan is all for nothing. Read Now

  • Busy South Africa Building Integrates Custom Access Control System

    Nicol Corner, based in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, South Africa, is home to a six-star fitness club, prime office space, and an award-winning rooftop restaurant. This is the first building in South Africa to have its glass façade fully incorporate fritted glazing, saving 35% on energy consumption. Nicol Corner (Pty) LTD has developed a landmark with sophisticated design and unique architecture by collaborating with industry-leading partners and specifying world-class equipment throughout the project. This includes installing a high-spec, bespoke security and access control system. Read Now

  • Only 13 Percent of Research Institutions Are Prepared for AI

    A new survey commissioned by SHI International and Dell Technologies underscores the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI) while exposing significant gaps in preparedness at many research institutions. Read Now

  • Survey: 70 Percent of Organizations Have Established Dedicated SaaS Security Teams

    Seventy percent of organizations have prioritized investment in SaaS security, establishing dedicated SaaS security teams, despite economic uncertainty and workforce reductions. This was a key finding in the fourth Annual SaaS Security Survey Report: 2025 CISO Plans and Priorities released today by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the world’s leading organization dedicated to defining standards, certifications, and best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

Webinars

New Products

  • AC Nio

    AC Nio

    Aiphone, a leading international manufacturer of intercom, access control, and emergency communication products, has introduced the AC Nio, its access control management software, an important addition to its new line of access control solutions. 3

  • 4K Video Decoder

    3xLOGIC’s VH-DECODER-4K is perfect for use in organizations of all sizes in diverse vertical sectors such as retail, leisure and hospitality, education and commercial premises. 3

  • HD2055 Modular Barricade

    Delta Scientific’s electric HD2055 modular shallow foundation barricade is tested to ASTM M50/P1 with negative penetration from the vehicle upon impact. With a shallow foundation of only 24 inches, the HD2055 can be installed without worrying about buried power lines and other below grade obstructions. The modular make-up of the barrier also allows you to cover wider roadways by adding additional modules to the system. The HD2055 boasts an Emergency Fast Operation of 1.5 seconds giving the guard ample time to deploy under a high threat situation. 3