Sadly, phishing emails have spiked by over 600% since the end of February. Cybercriminals are trying to exploit people during this uncertain time, and this puts not only them but also businesses at risk of fraud.
Our partner, Barracuda Networks, observed just 137 incidents relating to COVID-19 in January, rising to 1188 in February and 9116 in the first 3 weeks of March. Around 2% of the 468,000 global email attacks detected were classified as COVID-19-themed. As is usually the case, the attacks used widespread awareness of the subject to trick users into handing over their log-ins and financial information, and/or unwittingly downloading malware to their computers.
As well as the usual lures to click through for more information on the pandemic, some scammers are claiming to sell cures and/or face-masks, while others try to elicit investment in companies producing vaccines, or donations to fight the virus and provide support to victims. There have also been reports of HMRC rebate scams which are very convincing indeed.
We urge you to pass this information on to your staff and to encourage them to be on high alert. As always, if you weren’t expecting it, or it seems too good to be true, ask the question.