Fujitsu Highlights Higher Risk of Disinformation Attacks

Fujitsu UK & Ireland

News facts:

  • Disinformation campaigns intended to take advantage of – or spread – panic and fear in society will center on the effectiveness of Coronavirus vaccines
  • Fujitsu expects both businesses and individuals to be targeted, based on issues that impact a wide section of society – including mandatory vaccination, health passports, and lockdowns
  • Criminal gangs and nation-states are behind these attacks, in particular seeking to undermine disinformation countermeasures

London, January 14, 2021

Fujitsu today highlights a profound risk of disinformation attacks intended to take advantage of – or spread – panic and fear in society. Cybercriminals are already focusing on the contentious issues of personal liberties around the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, such as requirements to wear a facemask, or the restriction of movement.

Just as cybercriminals have taken advantage of recent topical themes such as the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and elections, Fujitsu predicts that a campaign to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt around the effectiveness of Coronavirus vaccines is one new technique used in social engineering attacks. The most sophisticated of these attacks will play both sides against each other – leveraging individuals’ fundamental beliefs. This could cause a widespread breakdown in the trust of information sources and impact business brands caught up in the cross-fire.

According to Fujitsu, with many people longing to return to some kind of post-pandemic normality, both businesses and individuals will be targeted by disinformation campaigns focused on mandatory vaccination, health passports, mass immunity testing, and lockdowns. Fujitsu’s cybersecurity experts anticipate multi-vector attacks driven both by criminal gangs and nation-states, which will target countries already trying to defend against disinformation targeted campaigns.

Phishing is at the heart of disinformation attacks

Paul McEvatt, Head of Cyber Security Innovation at Fujitsu, comments: “Phishing is at the heart of these attacks – the targeting of individuals based on their beliefs, or their circumstances, to socially engineer them into a compromised situation. People are more likely to fall for a phish when related to a topic they believe in or identify with. Today, the Coronavirus pandemic is a global issue and a highly-emotional one, too, especially since it involves personal liberties and factors such as restriction on movement. There has probably never been a bigger topic for a disinformation attack.”

Throughout 2020, Fujitsu has tracked multiple examples of attempts to subvert society by exploiting both a problem and its solutions. In April, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre in the UK reported1. it had taken down 2,000 scams, including 471 fake online shops trying to trick people looking for coronavirus-related services, and a further 200 phishing sites. And in March 2020, security firm Check Point reported2 a spike in the registrations of domain names related to Zoom, with cybercriminals anticipating a jump in demand for online conferencing services and preparing to take advantage of rising demand by purchasing similar domains to use in credential phishing.

Extended work from home is making knowledge workers more vulnerable

Fujitsu observes that extended periods of working from home are making knowledge workers more vulnerable to falling for phishing attacks and recommends that organisations take three essential countermeasures:

  1. 1. Ensure that employees are empowered to deal with disinformation attacks.This is not just about training them to spot these but also making sure employees feel empowered to critically assess any email and report it quickly and without fear of recrimination.
  2. 2. Understand the threatsThreat Intelligence is a valuable part of any organisation's defense as it allows security teams to understand potential threats and mitigate them before they become a risk.
  3. 3. AutomateJust looking at the scale and rapid pace of development of these threats shows us that 2021 will be an even busier year for security teams as they try to handle the volume of threats. Automating security processes gives security teams an advantage against these threats. It also lets them investigate real threats and richer context to ensure they know what they are dealing with.

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About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 130,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 3.9 trillion yen (US$35 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020. For more information, please see

About Fujitsu UK and Ireland

Fujitsu UK & Ireland employs over 9,000 people. We promote a Human Centric Intelligent Society, in which innovation is driven by the integration of people, information and infrastructure. We are committed to Digital Co-creation, blending business expertise with digital technology and creating new value with ecosystem partners and customers. We enable our customers to digitally transform with connected technology services, focused on Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and Cloud - all underpinned by Security. Our customers cover both the public and private sectors, including retail, financial services, transport, manufacturing, government and defence. For more information please see

Lena Spicer

Phone: +44 (0)7378 863865
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Graham Goulden

Phone: + 44 (0)208 052 4803
Company: Fujitsu

Date: January 14, 2021
City: London

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