Cynet Report Details Increase in Cyber Attacks During Pandemic

Cynet has released a report detailing changes in cyberattacks observed across North America and Europe since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cynet compared the number of cyberattacks during the COVID-19 outbreak to the previous three months for several industry sectors and saw increases of more than 20 percent in the areas of finance (up 32%), food production (29%), and retail (23%).

The report showed a particular increase in spear phishing attacks and details techniques used to achieve network access. Spear phishing attacks generally consist of an email from a seemingly trusted source, which contains a malicious link or attachment. The breakdown of spear phishing attacks observed by Cynet showed: 

  • Email with malicious attachment: 35 percent
  • Weaponized document (macro): 32 percent
  • Email containing suspicious executable: 21 percent
  • Weaponized document (Office exploit): 12 percent

An increase in new techniques was also seen. According to the report, typically 80 percent of attacks use well-known techniques “that are easily identified assuming companies have updated preventative measures in place.” During the observation period, 65 percent were known attacks, with 35 percent new.