Computer with british memorabilia and a COVID phishing email on screen

More than one fifth of all UK employees received coronavirus phishing emails

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AI-based cyber security specialists Webroot found that around 22% of UK employees have received a COVID-19 related phishing email.

The investigation conducted by Webroot surveyed 7000 office workers all across the globe, and with employees worldwide receiving an astonishing 34% more phishing emails than this point last year, an increased push for cyber security vigilance is an absolute necessity.

Hackers are trying to exploit this pandemic in any and every way that they can, and an increase in the use of the internet and virtual forms of communication is the perfect environment for them to do so.

One would’ve thought a good response to increasing cyber security threats would be to increase security awareness training, right? Well, according to the study only 24% of organisations increased their cyber security training since the start of the pandemic.

These numbers are just not good enough, and yet three out if four UK respondents believe that they have the appropriate skills and knowledge to spot a phishing email and keep their personal data safe from hackers. This was the highest number among all surveyed countries.

This either means that we Brits are very effective and efficient at rooting out these malicious and damaging emails and messages (apparently with no extra training), or, perhaps more likely, those surveyed possessed an over-inflated opinion of there own competence.

Judging by the amount of successful phishing attacks we have seen recently and since the start of the pandemic, maybe it’s the latter.

Do you know how your organisation would fair in a phishing attack? We created a free tool to test just that. Try out our Free Click-Prone® Test, it reveals how many of your users are susceptible to clicking a modern day phishing email.

Nick Emanuel, senior director of product at Webroot, said:

“With mass work from home, an influx of emails and a general ‘always connected’ attitude, there are more opportunities for cyber criminals than ever before.

Nick Emanuel – Senior director of product, Webroot

“Businesses and consumers must prioritise cyber resilience and recognise that it is everyone’s responsibility to protect their data.”

Over half of the people surveyed said that they work more from home now than they did at the start of 2020, and one in three stated that they’re more worried about phishing attacks compared to the start of the year due to COVID-19.

“People are on guard more with the pandemic, with many at home reading and watching the news, frequently receiving more content on the internet and on social, and sharing news – fake or true – at a higher rate,”

Dr. Prashanth Rajivan – Assistant professor, University of Washington.

“At the same time, people are also taking increased personal safety measures by social distancing and wearing masks. Together, these actions may be creating a false sense of confidence among employees that they’re more prepared to spot a phishing attack than they really are.”

Has your organisation increased its training since the start of the pandemic? Do you think your organisation is prepared to deal with a modern day phishing attack?

Sign up for our Free Two Week Trial now, remove the guess work from your security and train your users.