Check Point Detects 30 per cent Rise in COVID19 Attacks


Security experts are warning of a 30 per cent rise in cyber-attacks based on COVID 19. Over the last two weeks, hackers have used the pandemic to spoof trusted brands and organisations.

Check Point revealed an average of 192,000 cyber-attacks themed around the virus per week over the last fortnight. The majority of these attacks were phishing emails. Some, such as a WHO-themed phishing email posing as an “urgent letter” containing information on the first human vaccine test, contain keylogging malware.

Check Point also noticed a surge in domain registrations as part of ongoing coronavirus-related phishing campaigns. And in the last three weeks, nearly 37 per cent of zoom-related domains were registered. Of 2449 detected, 1.5 per cent were malicious and 13 per cent were suspicious. Similar lures include fake Microsoft Teams links/domains.

In total, Check Point claimed to have identified almost 20,000 new COVID-19 registrations over the last three weeks. This is 22 per cent more than the total spotted so far since the outbreak began. Of this most recent batch, 2 per cent are malicious and 15 per cent are suspicious.

The vendor urged users to make themselves aware of lookalike domains with spelling errors and unfamiliar senders. They should also be sure to use a different password across accounts and to only order goods and services from authentic sources.

Intelligence from Google, Microsoft and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has been able to demonstrate that although COVID-19 threats are on the rise, there is still no increase in the overall levels of cybercrime.

Instead, it appears that cyber-criminals are repurposing other campaigns with COVID-19 themes in hopes of generating a better success rate.

Last month, Google claimed to be blocking more than 240 million spam messages relating to COVID-19 each day, as well as 18 million malware and phishing emails.