In what could be surprising, COVID-19 related cyber threats continue to surge with over three million external attacks said to have occurred on Cloud user accounts in the fourth quarter last year. McAfee, the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company on Tuesday released its Threats Report for April 2021 where it cited that COVID-19-related cyber-attack detections increased by 240 percent in Q3 and 114 percent in Q4.
In Q4, McAfee Labs observed an average of 648 threats per minute, an increase of 60 threats per minute (10 percent) over Q3. Further, Powershell threats again 208 percent due to continued increases in Donoff malware activity. The attacks on Cloud user accounts are based on the aggregation and anonymisation of cloud usage data from more than 30 million McAfee ‘MVISION’ cloud users worldwide during the fourth quarter of 2020.
According to the report, this data set represents companies in all major industries across the globe, including financial services, healthcare, public sector, education, retail, technology, manufacturing, energy, utilities, legal, real estate, transportation, and business services.
“Though a large percentage of employees grew more proficient and productive in working remotely, enterprises endured more opportunistic Covid-19 related campaigns among a new cast of bad-actor schemes,” said Raj Samani, McAfee fellow, and chief scientist.
As per the MacAfee Threats report, mobile malware grew 118 percent in Q4 2020, in part due to a surge in SMS Reg samples. The HiddenAds, Clicker, MoqHao, HiddenApp, Dropper, and FakeApp strains were the most detected mobile malware families. Moreover, ransomware grew in volume 69 percent from Q3 2020 to Q4 2020, driven by Cryptodefense. REvil, Thanos, Ryuk, RansomeXX, and Maze groups topped the overall list of ransomware families. MacOS malware also rose to 420 percent in Q3 due to EvilQuest ransomware, however, it shrunk down towards the end of the year, the report cited. The malware was the most reported cause of security incidents in Q4, followed by account hijackings, targeted attacks, and vulnerabilities.
While COVID-themed ransomware and phishing attacks on people are rising rapidly, over 9,000 coronavirus-themed attacks were noticed in India last year. As per reports, miscreants taking advantage of the pandemic outbreak have targeted mostly the working sector with ‘phishing lures and malware.’