COVID-Related Phishing Attacks Return to Mid-Pandemic Heights



COVID-19 Related Phishing AttacksNew data from Palo Alto Network’s Unit42 provides a wealth of insight into specifically how cybercriminals have leveraged COVID-related theming to ensure a successful phishing attack.

Throughout the last 14 months, the bad guys have consistently kept pace with the state of the pandemic. They have been looking for the best aspects of the COVID saga to get the attention of individuals and businesses alike of these attacks.

According to Unit42’s new COVID-19 themed phishing attack data, these scammers know exactly how to press the buttons of their potential victims at just the right time. For example, the current concern is around vaccines. According to Unit42:

  • Vaccine-related phishing attacks rose by 530% from December 2020 to February 2021
  • Phishing attacks targeting pharmacies and hospitals rose by 189% during that same timeframe

Over the past 14 months phishing attacks have changed their stripes to meet the current state of the potential victim’s concerns, fears, needs, and hopes – as shown below.

3-19-21 Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Unit42

The number of new phishing URLs in February of this year reached the same level as approximately August of last year – at the height of some very large COVID case spikes.

Unit42’s data also touches on some interesting points around how these campaigns are being executed:

  • Microsoft 365 accounts were the top target, with 23% of COVID phishing URLs impersonating logon pages to steal credentials
  • The greatest percentage of websites at time of detection were less than 32 days old

The bad guys know their audience well and they can adapt on how to change up tactics as needed so that you’ll fall for their scam. It’s important to keep your users current with information on the latest scams, themes, and social engineering methods through continual Security Awareness Training. By doing so, no matter how the bad guys change their stripes, your users will see the next COVID-themed phishing attack for what it truly is.


Free Phishing Security Test

Would your users fall for convincing phishing attacks? Take the first step now and find out before the bad guys do. Plus, see how you stack up against your peers with phishing Industry Benchmarks. The Phish-prone percentage is usually higher than you expect and is great ammo to get budget.

PST ResultsHere's how it works:

  • Immediately start your test for up to 100 users (no need to talk to anyone)
  • Select from 20+ languages and customize the phishing test template based on your environment
  • Choose the landing page your users see after they click
  • Show users which red flags they missed, or a 404 page
  • Get a PDF emailed to you in 24 hours with your Phish-prone % and charts to share with management
  • See how your organization compares to others in your industry

Go Phishing Now!

PS: Don't like to click on redirected buttons? Cut & Paste this link in your browser:

https://www.knowbe4.com/phishing-security-test-offer

Topics: Phishing

Subscribe To Our Blog


Ransomware Hostage Rescue Manual




Get the latest about social engineering

Subscribe to CyberheistNews