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During the global covid crisis, internet fraudsters registered many domain names related to wine in order to reach potential victims for fraudulent transactions. This was published in a study by the American internet security company Recorded Future together with the email security specialist Area 1 Security. The number of "phishing emails" around the topic of wine is "worrying", the analysis published a few days ago states.

According to this, cyber criminals are currently trying to exploit the significantly increased number of internet wine and spirits orders for their purposes. Thus, the security experts had observed a "significant" increase of registrations of internet addresses on the topic of wine with names like Merlot, Pinot, Chardonnay or Vino, for example, from January 2020. According to the analysis, the total number of domains registered in this environment was between 7,000 and 9,500 per month until March 2021; in May 2020, there were even 12,400 registrations. In addition, the study authors recognised a massive increase of domain names that they classify as "malicious" from April 2020 on.

The analysis of all registered wine domains for criminal purposes shows that the peak value in June 2020 was seven percent of the total wine domain names. Since then, this value decreased to three to five percent. With spam campaigns, criminals want to get their victims to click on websites in order to gain advertising revenue, to buy questionable products or to cheat. They also use it to collect email addresses and other personal data, which they sell on the dark net, for example.

The most dangerous threat at the moment is email campaigns in the business environment, which aim to get victims to transfer money to the attacker under the pretext of ordering expensive wines, for example. According to the study, they currently account for about 13.5 per cent of malicious emails. Some of them are formulated very simply, like: "You will receive our invoice for the wine we deliver to your boss". Others are formulated more subtly and pretend to the recipients that they come from existing executives, but also private wine lovers are increasingly becoming victims of fraud attempts.

(uka / Photo: Defence Imagery MOD - Chief Photographer / Wikipedia)