A huge increase in phishing scams since the COVID-19 pandemic began is crippling IT security teams

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With people being forced to stay at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, communications technology is being used more than ever before.

Virtual communication has become key to the nation’s economy. With emails and texts being used a far more than before, hackers are readily capitalising on the ever-increasing number of gaps in user awareness.

Companies are facing an average of 1,185 attacks every month. A number that has dramatically increased since before COVID-19, and from February to March the number of phishing scams increased by almost 700%.

By April, Google were blocking over 18 million Coronavirus related phishing emails.

Yes, that’s right. 18 million. Every day.

(…this is on top of the 240 million coronavirus spam emails they blocked each day)

As a result of this massive increase in phishing emails, an estimated 15% of organisations have been forced to spend anywhere between 1-4 days amending the damage done by these social engineers, wasting valuable time in an already stressful and unknown environment.

A report conducted by Cybersecurity Insiders asked 317 professionals within the cyber security industry, ranging from executives to IT security practitioners what their experience has been like throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

This report depicted how organisations have actually managed with issues such as these throughout the pandemic. The results showed a stark increase in the number of phishing attempts, but also an improvement in the time allocated to mitigation of these attacks. This further highlighted the overwhelming problems that face organisations who do not have sufficient cyber-security training.

As already discussed several time during this post, phishing attacks are becoming increasingly common, so common in fact that 53% of the people surveyed said that they personally witnessed an increase in phishing attacks since the start of the pandemic.

64% of those surveyed believe they have sufficient skills to identify and mitigate a phishing email, however the consequences for those that can’t recognise these threats at a satisfactory level are not only damaging their organisation, but their own reputation too, the study found.

Victim blaming is also an all too familiar problem. 38% confessed to somebody in their organisation falling for a phishing scams, and a further 39% saying that this reflected badly on the individual in question. This victim blaming only worsens problems for employees.

The fear and anxiety of falling for one of these scams therefore has the potential to damage the confidence of an employee and could be detrimental to their overall work. This only further emphasises the need for cyber security training.

Overall, organisations do not have enough training to be able to deal with these devastating phishing attacks quickly and efficiently.

Is your organisation well equipped enough to root out the increasing number of phishing attacks threatening almost every company worldwide?

Find out in our Free Click-Prone® Test today.