With cybercrime accelerating as COVID-19 spreads, manufacturing and retail organisations are seeing the most attacks.
In a report to be released today that was exclusively provided to the author, security firm Mimecast examines the first 100 days of the crisis and the pattern of scams that has unfolded.
Between January and March, says the firm, spam and opportunistic detections increased by 26.3%, while impersonation was up 30.3%, malware by 35.16% and the blocking of URL clicks by 55.8%. Overall, detections were up by a third.
Criminals have been matching their scams to the news, with detections rocketing, for example, during the week that saw the first reports of COVID-19 infections in the UK, Italy and Spain.
In the week from 24 March, when the UK and Australia locked down, a spoofed WHO ‘Safety COVID-19 Awareness’ email did the rounds, appearing far more professional, says the team, than previous efforts.
Meanwhile, impersonation has been steadily increasing for some time, says Mimecast, and has accelerated since the outbreak.
“Some of the increase undoubtedly reflects the increased opportunity presented by current circumstances, with isolated employees and the potential lack of suitably robust verification processes, which threat actors will hope to heavily exploit under the present lockdown measures in many countries,” says Carl Wearn, head of e-crime at Mimecast.