Also in our cybersecurity roundup, some companies are turning their backs on SolarWinds.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

March 19, 2021

7 Slides

A new phishing email warning shows cybercriminals using the tax filing delay and COVID-19 vaccine rollout to target more unsuspecting victims.

According to new findings from Vade Secure, phishers have more ammo and sheer time than ever before to craft sophisticated schemes.

Vade Secure found a staggering 4 million phishing emails targeting individuals with tax debt. It also found an additional one million fraudulent emails tied to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. That’s just in the last three days.

Despite the newsworthy or emotionally driven hook of the campaigns, Vade Secure has found hackers are consistently using techniques to bypass filters. Those include remote images that contain the text/images, look-alike letters and link redirections.

Some hackers are even combining tactics and getting more strategic by using a pairing of events. Vade Secure has seen the use of forthcoming COVID-19 relief payments to target end users.

Sebastien Goutal is chief science officer at Vade Secure. He believes information from financially driven attacks is likely sold to companies offering services for those owing tax money. That includes legal services, loan services and more.

Promising Tax Debt Relief, Forgiveness


Vade Secure’s Sebastien Goutal

We spoke with Goutal to find out more about this phishing email warning.

Channel Futures: How are these tax debt emails going about tricking recipients into becoming victims?

Sebastien Goutal: The attackers are deceiving recipients by pretending to offer exclusive information about tax debt relief and forgiveness. Owing tax debt is stressful for the taxpayer, especially in these uncertain times. And it could lead to a range of penalties, from interest to tax liens and seizure of assets. Victims that are facing these outcomes are far more likely to act before they think and click on a link that’s offering help or a way out.

See our slideshow above for more on this phishing email warning and more cybersecurity news making headlines this week.


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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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