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COVID-19 Related Attacks On The Rise
April 30, 2020 Blog


During the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are under tremendous pressure to enable their entire workforce to work remotely and remain productive. But it is not just employees that are affected by the many lockdown measures that are taken by governments around the world. The way that customers use your services during this period will also change, with many having to contact businesses and make purchases via online methods, such as online portals, websites or mobile applications.



Therefore, businesses have to be able to adapt to this “new normal” and ensure that their systems are able to handle the influx of people accessing their web and SaaS applications. If they are unable to do that, then they risk facing downtimes that could severely affect productivity as well as company reputation.

However, it is not just outages from overwhelmed systems that businesses today have to prepare for. Cybersecurity researchers around the world are reporting that cybercrime has been on the rise in recent months, with cybercriminals adapting their attacks to make the most of the COVID-19 situation to their advantage.

Here are a few examples of COVID-19 related attacks that have been carried out:

  • Coronavirus-Related Phishing Attacks – Last month, Barracuda Networks reported that COVID-19-related spear-phishing attacks had spiked, as attackers took advantage of the widespread discussion of COVID-19 in emails and across the web to distribute malware, steal credentials, and scam users for money. The number of spam emails containing either “Corona” or “COVID*” in the subject line had also risen significantly.
  • Video Conferencing Hacks – Realising how businesses are relying on video conferencing applications for their remote workers on a large scale, cybercriminals are now targeting these applications. For instance, attackers are resorting to denial-of-service attacks to disrupt operations, disseminating and selling video conferencing credentials online, and eavesdropping into meetings. There has also been a rise in ‘Zoombombing’ instances.
  • Ransomware – While ransomware never showed signs of slowing down, cybercriminals are now escalating this form of attack due to the expanding attack surface and challenges faced by businesses to protect their digital assets as the majority of staff are working from home. Interpol has warned that Interpol warned hospitals and healthcare organisations are especially at risk during this period.
  • Credential Theft – Barracuda has also reported on the widespread instances of credential harvesting, with attackers leveraging information-stealing malware, social engineering tactics and spoofed login pages which use COVID-19 as a lure to steal user credentials. One such variant that was detected by Barracuda Sentinel claims to be from the CDC and attempts to steal Microsoft Exchange credentials when the malicious link is clicked.
  • DDoS Attacks – With so many people working remotely now, maintaining access to virtual corporate networks have become vital to the day-to-day operations of businesses. Knowing this, attackers are escalating DDoS-type attacks to run extortion campaigns. They threaten to disrupt businesses by overrunning their network with traffic from botnets unless a payment is made.



There are many other COVID-19-themed attacks that are threatening businesses. Thus, keeping employees secure has to be a top priority during this lockdown period and beyond. To help businesses scale and protect their systems that are stretched by COVID-19, we have organised a series of webinars with security experts at Barracuda over the coming weeks.

Click here to register.