Hackers Steal $34.2 Million Covid-19 Aid Money From Govt Website


The world is suffering from Coronavirus pandemic but amidst all the distress, hackers aren’t sitting idle. Apparently hackers have committed fraud with the government of Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia province.

They stole millions of Euros from the government by creating a copy of the website designed for distributing Coronavirus financial aid money.

The cyberattack was conducted in two stages. First, the ill-intended hackers distributed the link of the fake website using a phishing email campaign and gathered the details of the citizens.

Next, they requested the financial aid from the official website with all the data they gathered but replaced the original bank details with bank account numbers in which they wanted the money to be deposited.

The government acknowledged the attack after receiving 576 reports of fraud and the official website was taken down on April 9. The authorities believe that the scam started sometime mid-March.

As reported by Handelsblatt, a German newspaper, the government received 380,000 requests for financial aid but approved only 360,000 requests for transferring the aid.

According to NRW officials, out of these 360,000 requests, some 3,500 to 4,500 requests were a part of the scam. As per the COVID-19 relief strategy, the government transferred €9,000 to each self-employed professional and €25,000 to any corporation with more than 50 employees to compensate for the disruption in business due to Coronavirus.

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 scam.

The government failed to deploy a fool-proof authentication method to ensure that funds are being wired in the legit account. A police investigation has been launched to catch the criminals behind the crime.

Anmol Sachdeva

Anmol Sachdeva

Anmol is a tech journalist who handles reportage of cybersecurity and Apple and OnePlus devices at Fossbytes. He's an ambivert who is striving hard to appease existential crisis by eating, writing, and scrolling through memes.
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