Phishing Emails spike as cyber criminals exploit pandemic

30th March 2020 | Posted in Cyber Security


IT Security experts say a spike in scams such as phishing emails linked to the coronavirus pandemic is the worst they have seen in years.


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.

 

  • Ensure you are educated on email phishing techniques, e.g. suspicious requests, incorrect email addresses, malicious links (don’t click them!).
  • Ensure you have appropriate cyber security measures in place, including up to date antivirus software.
  • Make sure you have two-factor authentication (2FA) across all payment processes and applications.
  • Be cautious of emails of an urgent nature requesting money transfers, even if they appear to have originated from someone you know.
  • Speak with IT Security experts to ensure you have optimal cyber security in place to protect your systems.

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    0330 133 1250

    CYFOR Secure
    PO Box 266
    Manchester
    M24 0BY