Omicron Scam Targets Universities

Omicron Scam Targets Universities

Dozens of universities are being hit with a coordinated cyber-attack that uses news of the Omicron variant as a lure to steal login credentials.

Evidence of the malicious phishing campaigns was dredged up from the murky depths of the cyber-criminal underworld by researchers at the cybersecurity firm Proofpoint.

The universities targeted are mostly based in North America and include the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri, and Vanderbilt University, a private research university in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Researchers found the phishing emails to be typically themed around testing information and the latest in the line of COVID-19 variants to be discovered. One email subject line used by the attackers was “Attention Required – Information Regarding COVID-19 Omicron Variant – November 29.”

"Proofpoint observed COVID-19 themes impacting education institutions throughout the pandemic, but consistent, targeted credential theft campaigns using such lures targeting universities began in October 2021," noted researchers.

"Following the announcement of the new Omicron variant in late November, the threat actors began leveraging the new variant in credential theft campaigns."

Inside the phishing emails are attachments or URLs for pages created to harvest credentials for university accounts. While some campaigns feature generic Office 365 login portals, others include landing

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