SBI warns 2 million users may be at risk of phishing attacks in Delhi, Mumbai and other major cities

SBI warns 2 million users may be at risk of phishing attacks in Delhi, Mumbai and other major cities
SBI logo on a door outside one the bank's branchesBCCL
  • SBI has issued a warning to its customers to beware of an impending phishing attack.
  • CERT-In, India’s nodal cybersecurity agency, issued an advisory after cybercriminals threatened to unleash an attack on major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Ahmedabad.
  • The hackers claim to have over 2 million email IDs in their possession.
The State Bank of India (SBI) has issued a warning for its users to beware of an imminent phishing attack. Be on the lookout for any emails from ‘’ with the subject like ‘Free COVID-19 Testing’.

According to the warning issued by the Computer Emergency Response Team - India (CERT-In) — India’s nodal cybersecurity agency — the attack will target users in major cities across the country primarily in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Ahmedabad. The attackers reportedly have over 2 million email IDs in their kitty.

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The advisory warned that cybercriminals are expected to send phishing emails to these IDs in the guise of local authorities who are in charge of dispensing government-funded COVID-19 support initiatives.

This could be anything from donations to the PM-CARES Fund to EPF contributions.


“Such emails are designed to drive recipients towards fake websites where they are deceived into downloading malicious files or entering personal and financial information,” said CERT-In in its notice.

Exploitation in the name of the coronavirus
Last month, Microsoft also warned its users to beware of another coronavirus themed malware distribution campaign claiming to be from Johns Hopkins University. Emails were being sent out with booby-trapped spreadsheets with headlines like ‘horrible charts’. Opening the file will show you a legitimate chart, but it also installs a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) that allows hackers to control your computer remotely.

SBI warns 2 million users may be at risk of phishing attacks in Delhi, Mumbai and other major cities
Horrible charts attachment in phishing emails Microsoft Security Intelligence

In May, Seqrite — a cybersecurity company — discovered another RAT attacking cooperative banks in India. Under the guise of being from the Reserve Bank of India or a nationalised bank, attackers were sending out emails that looked innocent enough, referring to COVID-19 guidelines or a financial transaction with a .zip attachment. The attachment included a JAR-based malware that would allow bad actors to take your device from a remote location.

How to protect yourself from phishing scams
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, more people working from home — and hackers are more active than ever preying on unsecured networks. “Cybercriminals are exploiting the coronavirus outbreak to send fake emails with dangerous links to employees,” said Norton, a cybersecurity company.

As risk escalates, it’s important to maintain a healthy suspicion for emails from email IDs you haven’t seen before, especially if its with respect to any coronavirus news. “Even if they promise news you are interested in, any information in the attachment will almost certainly be available from a more direct source, via a link of your own choosing,” said Paul Ducklin the principal research scientist at Sophos.

As a precautionary measure, one should have a malware detection tool or anti-virus installed to alert them in case something slips through the crack. At the minimum, all devices should be fully updated with the latest security patches.

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