30th March 2020 | Posted in Cyber Security
Phishing emails have spiked by over 600% since the end of February as cyber-criminals prey on the fears generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Infosecurity Magazine.
In January 2010 there were just 137 recorded incidents of phishing emails, rising sharply to 1188 in February and then dramatically increasing to 9116 in March. An estimated 2% of the global 468,000 phishing emails detected were classed as COVID-19 based. These cyber-attacks use widespread awareness of the subject to trick users into handing over their details such as user credentials and financial information, and/or unwittingly downloading malicious applications more commonly known as malware onto their computers
The phishing attacks were comprised of numerous cyber-attacks, with 54% classified as scams, 34% as brand impersonation attacks, 11% blackmail and 1% as business email compromise. Scams are landing in peoples email boxes in the guise of virus ‘cures’, offering protective clothing such as face-masks, while others offer tax refunds or pretend to be a charitable cause to support victims.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued a warning about coronavirus-themed phishing attacks. It’s critical that end-users remain vigilant against email scams, not just during this challenging period but at all times.