COVID-19 attack campaigns continue to surge in 2H20

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 15 April, 2021

COVID-19 attack campaigns continue to surge in 2H20

Cyber attacks taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to surge during the second half of 2020, according to McAfee’s annual Threats Report.

COVID-19 related cyber attack detections surged 240% in Q3 and a further 114% in Q4 as the world adjusted to pandemic restrictions and remote work, research completed for the report found.

Meanwhile, malware threats continued to evolve, with Powershell threats up 208% in Q4 due largely to the successful Donoff malware.

Mobile malware grew 118% over the same period in part due to a surge in SMS Reg samples, while ransomware grew by 69% from Q3 to Q4 due to the rise of the Cryptodefense threat.

During Q4, McAfee Labs observed an average of 648 threats per minute, an increase of 60 threats per minute (10%) over Q3, according to McAfee Fellow and Chief Scientist Raj Samani.

“The world — and enterprises — adjusted amidst pandemic restrictions and sustained remote work challenges, while security threats continued to evolve in complexity and increase in volume,” Samani said.

“Though a large percentage of employees grew more proficient and productive in working remotely, enterprises endured more opportunistic COVID-19-related campaigns among a new cast of bad-actor schemes. Furthermore, ransomware and malware targeting vulnerabilities in work-related apps and processes were active and remain dangerous threats capable of taking over networks and data, while costing millions in assets and recovery costs.”

Image courtesy of Santeri Viinamäki under CC

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