The number of IT threats has increased exponentially during the Covid era, due to the lockdown enforced in order to limit the spread of the disease. More and more people have started to work from home via ‘smart working’ and now use online services more during their leisure time.
The higher number of users has been a real goldmine for cyber criminals and they have lost no time in exploiting the situation. IT incidents have multiplied in the last six months, ranging from simple account intrusions to extensive damage in the case of some businesses.
Threat Landscape Report 2020
The higher rate of accesses has increased system vulnerability, allowing hackers to find new ways to commit crimes. Among the most common of these in the first half of 2020 were malware, ransomware and other types of virus.
According to information included in the Threat Landscape Report 2020, IT pirates have learnt to exploit users’ habits, which have changed as a result of the enforced quarantine. This has allowed them to develop different strategies to steal login details, breach databases and extort money from their unfortunate victims.
Here are some of the key points mentioned in the document:
- The use of ransomware has risen sevenfold compared to the same period last year;
- A large proportion (around 40%) of emails related to Covid-19 are in fact spam;
- Port-scanning has become the criminals’ favourite type of online attack when trying to breach networks and IoT devices, featuring in up to 55.73% of threats to those infrastructures;
- Android devices have been the most targeted during the critical months;
- The use of ad hoc malware in attacks has fallen while social engineering has become the preferred method.
It is interesting to note how other IT threats during the Covid era have been connected to online scams. Although particularly limited by the restrictions imposed, the travel sector, for example, has recorded a huge number of scams based on emails containing malignant code.
The other area in which cyber criminals have invested most is that of dating apps. By using scams involving false profiles and spam campaigns, they have managed to turn the sense of loneliness felt by many during the quarantine period to their advantage.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith