Cybersecurity: A sharp increase in cyber-attacks recorded during the lockdowns

New data released by Mimecast shows there was a sharp increase in cybersecurity threats during the first three months of the lockdown.

A firm that tracks down the number of cyberattacks has recorded a spike in the last 100 days. Mimecast examined the pattern of scams and how they were executed from the onset of coronavirus in January up to march.

The report released today showed there was a 26.3 percent increase in the number of opportunistic detections cases reported. The report continued by highlighting that 30.3 percent impersonation and 35.16 percent malware cases increase recorded during that period. The report also showed a 55.8 percent increase in the number of URLs blocked by scammers and an overall 30 percent increase in the number of cybercrime detections.

The lockdowns have also exposed cybersecurity unpreparedness by companies. When the movement restrictions were put in place, a lot of companies opted to adapt a work-at-home policy for all their employees.

Cybersecurity compromise

During the first days after the UK and Italy recorded their first cases of coronavirus, criminals were able to create sites that matched actual news agencies to scam people. Without an eye on details, many people fell victim to these scams leading to loss of data and unauthorized access to company systems.

A few weeks later, on the week of March 24th when the UK and Australia went into lockdowns, the scammers saw an opportunity and sent emails designed to look like official WHO warnings and guidelines about coronavirus. Unsuspecting victims believed the emails to be true and forwarded them to other people, whereas the emails were being used to steal data and were not authentic.

Mimecast also highlighted the sharp increase in impersonation and attributing it to a lack of verification in many systems the companies were using. This leads to many unauthorized actors to take advantage of the weak security systems and naive internet users to scam people off their fortunes.

Affected industries

Carl Wearn, head of e-crime at Mimecast said the most affected industries during this lockdown period were the manufacturing and retail industries. They were the only industries that were still operating during the lockdown.

Wearn also said other industries, although not at the same rate as the two, were also being targetted and saw a sharp increase in the number of cyberattacks also.

Mimecast has urged companies and people to be cautious when interacting on the internet. They emphasized the need to be extra careful when dealing with third party online applications because this is where many of the cybercriminals thrived.


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