Scammers will use any opportunity to exploit the public and grow their wallets—but attacking people during a global pandemic is a whole new low.
Google has reported that it blocks around 18 million coronavirus scam emails daily being sent to gmail users and has said that the pandemic has “led to an explosion of phishing attacks in which criminals try to trick users into revealing persona data.” (Tidy, 2020)
Global security giant, Barracuda, has reported a 667% increase in malicious phishing e-mails during the pandemic. They’ve also reported that the healthcare industry is “getting hammered with cyberattacks”(Shi,2020) including spear phishing and ransomware.
This threat has become so prominent and successful, that the FBI issued an alert about these types of attacks. These phishing campaigns are taking advantage of people’s fear and uncertainty to scam the public out of money and steal confidential credentials.
Barracuda researchers were able to narrow down three types of phishing attacks using COVID-19 themes.
One has to wonder, how COVID-19 will impact the cybersecurity industry in the long run. With more and more companies turning to remote working, employees are more vulnerable to these attacks. Top cyber security experts have said that most of the public is undereducated in the basics of cyber security and how to remain safe online and therefore, educating the workforce and safe and secure online work is key.
Remote work is predicted to introduce innovation and “accelerate the depreciation of obsolete technologies (Raywood, 2020)” which can cause cybersecurity to fall behind. But the shift in the way we work and how businesses are interacting with another and their employees will identify new opportunities which are highly likely to require security measures in order to support the changes and secure networks and private data.
Once this period passes, businesses will also take their business continuity plan a lot more seriously and probably revise it to include remote work standards which will involve more detailed security measures. Many businesses have realized their inferiority as their work has turned remote and the necessary resources, planning and training is not up to par to keep up with the changes. This is where cyber security companies can step in and share their expertise and secure company networks for safe remote working.
It’s certain that COVID-19 has brought on many changes, but we’re likely to see many more as time passes. Even after the pandemic passes, there’s bound to be some aftershocks and major global economic shifts. Although the future is uncertain during this time, we can all take comfort in knowing that this will pass.
And when it does, the hope is that we all emerge stronger, smarter and kinder.
Barry, C. (2020, April 16). Healthcare organizations facing new cyberattacks. Retrieved from https://blog.barracuda.com/2020/04/16/healthcare-organizations-facing-new-cyberattacks/
Raywood, D. (2020, March 20). The Long-Term Impact of #COVID19 on the Cybersecurity Industry. Retrieved from https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news-features/long-impact-covid19-industry/
Shi, F. (2020, March 26). Threat Spotlight: Coronavirus-Related Phishing. Retrieved from https://blog.barracuda.com/2020/03/26/threat-spotlight-coronavirus-related-phishing/
Tidy, J. (2020, April 17). Google blocking 18m coronavirus scam emails every day. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-52319093