There’s been a surge in cybersecurity activity as companies continue to operate remotely and cybercriminals look to exploit the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, organizations around the globe have also adopted remote work policies, leaving companies vulnerable to threats via remote networks, pandemic-related malware, and more. In recent months, there’s been a spike in cybersecurity attacks during the pandemic. In April, the FBI reported cybercriminal activity had increased fourfold. At the time, the agency’s Internet Crime Complaint Center was receiving up to 4,000 complaints per day. On Tuesday, Microsoft released its annual Digital Defense Report providing a glimpse of the trends shaping the cybersecurity landscape during the last year.
“This report makes it clear that threat actors have rapidly increased in sophistication over the past year, using techniques that make them harder to spot and that threaten even the savviest targets,” said Tom Burt, corporate VP of customer security and trust, in the report.
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The Digital Defense Report analyzes cybersecurity threats from the second half of 2019 through the first half of 2020. Overall, Microsoft said it blocked more than 13 billion “malicious and suspicious mails” in 2019, with over 1 billion of these being “URLs set up for the explicit purpose of launching a phishing credential attack.”
From October of last year to July 2020, ransomware existed as the most common action spurring Microsoft’s incident response, per the report. Microsoft notes the ever-evolving and broadening nature of IoT threats, stating that such attacks increased by more than one-third “in total attack volume” when comparing the last six months of 2019 to the first half of 2020.
The findings detail ways in which cybercriminals have attempted to exploit the coronavirus pandemic. For example, a total of 16