Mimecast report shows major trends in malicious activity over first 100 days of COVID-19

33091154720 927c85f72d oWhile the world is focused on managing the healthcare, economic and social consequences of the novel coronavirus, the cybercriminals are quietly leveraging the crisis to escalate their activities

According to a new Mimecast report entitled 100 Days of Coronavirus, that tracks cybercrime activity since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, the volume of malicious and opportunistic cybercrime across all types of cybercrime has increased significantly by 33 per cent in between January to March 2020. The report provides a detailed analysis of all the trends across various regions, seen by the Mimecast Threat Intelligence team.

The report suggests, spam and opportunistic cybercrime detections have increased by 26.3 per cent, impersonation fraud detections have increased by 30.3 per cent, malware detections have increased by 35.16 per cent and blocking of URL clicks have increased by 55.8 per cent. 

Carl Wearn, head of e-crime at Mimecast, said, “Many employees that suddenly find themselves working from home, are not sufficiently equipped or aware of cyber threats and may put their organisations at risk by engaging in unsafe behaviour. Considering the rise in threats and unsafe clicks as shown by the report, there is an urgent need for organisations to step up their cybersecurity awareness training efforts to ensure employees have the tools and knowledge to avoid risky online behaviour.”

In addition, more than 1,15,000 COVID-19 related spoof domains designed to steal personal information have been detected since January.

In Middle East and North Africa region, the Threat Intelligence team found notable increases in malware and spam. “In February and March, we saw a 22 per cent increase in malware and a 36 per cent increase in spam. Most interestingly was a 751 per cent increase in unsafe clicks by users over the three-month period. This is likely an indication of people letting their guards down and desperate to learn more, as communication channels were flooded with information, both legitimate and fake, about the virus,” said Wearn.

“Given the continuing uncertainty, threat actors and cybercriminals are likely to continue exploiting and evolve their methods according to the current news cycle with potentially disastrous consequences for unwary employees and organisations," concluded Wearn.

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