Cyber Criminals Exploit COVID-19, Study Says

COVID-19 may have slowed down some businesses, but not old-fashioned email fraud, judging by Agari’s H2 2020 Email Fraud & Identity Deception Trends Report.  

There was an increase of over 3,000% in COVID-19-themed phishing attacks from the week of March 8 through early June.  

What’s more, Agari detected a 70% increase in business email compromise (BEC) scams launched from free webmail accounts, up from 54% during the second quarter of 2019. 

Bad actors jumped on the crisis to impersonate the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other entities.  

In addition, 22% of impersonation attacks came from criminals posing as trusted individuals. 

If there was any hopeful sign, it’s that COVID-19-themed BEC attacks flattened out at the end of June, having spiked earlier in the month. 

Meanwhile, the traditional business email compromise (BEC) wire transfer scam had generated an average haul of US $1.6 million.


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