World Health Organization sees fivefold increase in cyber attacks

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that it has seen a big increase in the number of cyberattacks against its staff and e-mail scams aimed at the general public. The report comes after 450 active WHO e-mail addresses and passwords were leaked online alongside details of others fighting COVID-19.

According to WHO, the data that was leaked online was not recent and didn’t put WHO’s systems at risk. It did say, however, that the credentials were able to be used with an older extranet system that is used by current and retired WHO staff as well as partners. The health body is currently migrating affecting systems to a more secure authentication system.

According to the press release, scammers have also been impersonating WHO in e-mails directed towards the general public. The scammers have been trying to trick members of the public into donating money to a fictitious fund instead of the authentic COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund which will ultimately help countries around the world tackle the new disease.

Commenting on the news, Bernardo Mariano, WHO’s Chief Information Officer, said:

“Ensuring the security of health information for Member States and the privacy of users interacting with us a priority for WHO at all times, but also particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful for the alerts we receive from Member States and the private sector. We are all in this fight together.”

The World Health Organization is asking members of the public to be vigilant when it comes to fraudulent e-mails and recommends that people get their information about COVID-19 and other health issues from a reliable source.

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