Hackers steal $34.2 Million Aid Money For COVID-19 From German Government


Hackers steal a whopping Rs.262 Crores ($34.2 million) of Corona Virus rehabilitation money for from the German Government using a cloned website

Even as the world is still recovering from the Corona Virus pandemic, we are hearing stories about the good and bad of humanity. Somewhere in one corner of the world, good samaritans are helping poor and desolate cope with the lockdown by donating food, clothes, medicines and other basic needs. While the bad are equally present doing obnoxious things like spitting on the healthcare workers and authorities. We had reported how a 41-year-old woman in Spain removed her clothes and hopped on a police patrol car after being caught violating the lockdown.

Today we bring you similar news about the worst things humans can do in this time of the pandemic. Hackers stole nearly Rs.262 crores ($34.2 million) of Government aid money meant for rehabilitating those affected by the Corona Virus pandemic. The money that was being transferred by the German government for the rehabilitation of COVID-19 patients and those people who were affected by the Corona Virus, was stolen by hackers using a cloned website.

The hacking incident happened in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia province. Hackers reported stole 31 million Euros ($34.2 million) from the German government fund called Emergency NRW 2020 fund by creating a copy of the website designed for distributing financial aid money to the needy.

The unknown hackers first used social engineering attacks to send phishing emails to the citizens of the area. After collecting the personal identifiable information about the citizens, they requested the financial aid from the Emergency NRW 2020 website using the data they had phished. They collected the money using the data they gathered but replaced the original bank details with bank account numbers in which they wanted the money to be deposited.

The provincial German government acknowledged the cloning attack after receiving 576 reports of fraud. Based on the complaints, the official Emergency NRW 2020 website was taken down on 9th April. According to the authorities, the hackers started the scam in March when the Corona Virus pandemic was at its peak in Spain and Italy.

The matter was reported by a German local newspaper, Handelsblatt, which said that out of government-approved 360,000 requests for aid, some 3,500 to 4,500 requests were made by the hackers as a part of the scam. Handelsblatt also stated that the German government had shut down the aid distribution website.

The German government was giving $9,800 (Rs.7,50,000) to each victim affected by Corona Virus and $27,000 to any corporation with more than 50 employees to compensate for the disruption in business due to Coronavirus pandemic. It is estimated that the German government lost a minimum of €31 million or $34.25 million to a maximum of €100 million or $109 million in the fraud.

Source: Fossbytes.


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