Attacks surge as cybercriminals seek to profit from COVID

New research has exposed a major rise in global cyberattacks as criminals continue to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic.


Findings from security vendor VMware Carbon Black, revealed at the recent Black Hat information security event, showed that 53% of organisations polled have encountered or observed a surge in cyberattacks exploiting COVID-19. The research revealed remote access inefficiencies (52%), VPN vulnerabilities (45%) and staff shortages (36%) as the most daunting endpoint security challenges.


In the past six months, security professionals have battled to secure remote endpoints while cybercriminals look to profit from the global disruption. Now the full extent of the threat has become clearer.


“There has been a dramatic surge in cyberattacks,” said Tom Kellermann, Head of Cybersecurity Strategy, VMware Carbon Black. “The FBI reported a 400% increase in cybercrime. This is compounded by the stark reality that cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated and punitive. Today, malicious actors are setting their sights on commandeering an organisation’s digital transformation efforts to attack its customers. The heist has become a hostage situation and destructive attacks have become commonplace in 2020.”


The survey revealed that 51% of reported attacks targeted the financial sector. This was followed by healthcare (35%), professional services (35%) and retail (31%). Attackers continue to be motivated by financial gain, putting the financial sector at targeted risk. Some 51% saw attacks from China followed by North America (40%) and Russia (38%).


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