Representational image
Representational image

The number of cyberattacks using the Coronavirus pandemic first emerged around February 2020. But now such attacks have seen an exponential upswing, stated the latest report ‘The Global Threat Landscape Report Q1 2020’ by Subex. European countries, especially the United Kingdom is the most attacked.

The report stated, “Hackers struck in waves beginning the middle of February and intensified operations throughout March.”

It added, “Though we have heard of many instances of collaboration tools being hacked, it is difficult to determine the exact impact of Coronavirus- related hacking on enterprises across the globe as many have not come forward and reported breaches.”

It is found that financial services, healthcare, smart cities and retail remain high on the list of hacker targets. The report revealed, “Healthcare was the most attacked sector across the whole of Europe.”

Sectors attacked
Sectors attacked
Subex report

This report went on to claim that many employees will end up accessing infected devices at their workplace after they return once the lockdown is eased.

The report warned the government agencies to be on high alert until the end of this year as COVID-19-themed cyberattacks are rising.

COVID-19-themed cyberattacks: Government agencies need to be on high alert till the end of this year

It was found that attacks on the UK picked up in the first two months, then declined for a week and then increased.

The firm said the attacks on healthcare institutions registered the biggest ever hike in this quarter. “The attacks increased as the number of COVID-19 cases from countries like Spain, Italy and Germany increased in the month of March. “For some reason, hackers were also attacking non-traditional sectors like renewable energy farms. This might be a way of deceiving national cyber defence agencies and keeping them busy while they go after high-value targets.”

While the UK saw most attacks, countries like Poland, Ukraine, Spain and Germany (in that order) were the other top five countries as far as cyberattacks are concerned. Meanwhile, Poland made its debut in the top five, according to the report. The attack faced by Poland was highly sophisticated in nature; came from its immediate neighbourhood, and targeted at critical infrastructure.

China, is one of the many countries from where cyberattacks origins, surprisingly, this time the country has seen high volumes of inbound attacks. The report highlights this new trend. “Most of these attacks were connected to a group based in China’s neighbourhood and bear some degree of geopolitical motivation,” stated the report. Almost all countries in the region witnessed a rise in cyberattacks with financial services and healthcare accounting for the bulk of the attacks followed by manufacturing and smart homes.

COVID-19-themed cyberattacks: Government agencies need to be on high alert till the end of this year

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