Shadowy sellers want to capitalize on interest in pharmaceuticals promising a potential treatment to COVID-19.
NormShield researchers looked for websites using the names of 10 commonly discussed drugs over the last several months. They found a dramatic spike in the number of sites generated to get the attention of scared shoppers looking for coronavirus cures.
In the first three months of 2020 alone, the researchers found 362 new possible phishing domains with references to or containing exact names of ten medicines – remdesivir, chloroquine (and hydroxychloroquine), Plaquenil, azithromycin, metformin, favipiravir, interferon, lopinavir, ritonavir, and arbitol. Of those 362 sites, 221 (or 61 percent) had domain names that contained either chloroquine or azithromycin.
While the number of phishing domains catapulted for chloroquine and azithromycin in particular, domain names containing the eight other drugs increased as well.