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71 per cent of spear-phishing attacks include malicious URLs. Pixabay

As cyberattacks grow in magnitude globally including in India, cybercriminals now prefer to use Covid-19 in scamming attacks that focus on fake cures and donations, compromising email accounts in Indian organizations.

In fact, 72 percent of Covid-19-related attacks today are scamming or spear-phishing which is the fraudulent practice of sending emails ostensibly from a known or trusted sender in order to induce targeted individuals to reveal confidential information. In comparison, 36 percent of overall attacks were found coming from scammers.


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“Nearly 13 percent of all spear-phishing attacks come from internally compromised accounts, so organizations need to invest in protecting their internal email traffic as much as they do in protecting from external senders,” according to the report from cloud-enabled security solutions provider Barracuda Networks.

Business email compromise (BEC) attacks are increasing as cybercriminals see how lucrative this type of attack can be. Attackers’ exploitation of fears around the COVID-19 pandemic shows how quickly they can adapt to current events.


Cybercriminals are attempting to send emails related to donations and health care. Pixabay

“A massive 71 percent of spear-phishing attacks include malicious URLs, but only 30 percent of BEC attacks included a link,” the findings showed. “Hackers using BEC want to establish trust with their victims and expect a reply to their email, and the lack of a URL makes it harder to detect the attack”.

According to Murali Urs, Country Manager (India), Barracuda Networks, cybercriminals adapt very quickly when they find a new tactic or current event that they can exploit. “Their response to the Covid-19 pandemic proved it too well. The organizations in India today are facing increasing threats from highly-targeted phishing attacks,” he said.

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Hackers are using multiple tactics to disguise malicious links and avoid detection by URL protection solutions. The report took an in-depth look at new tricks being used to successfully execute attacks — spear phishing, business email compromise, pandemic-related scams, and other types.

“Business email compromise (BEC) makes up 12 percent of the spear-phishing attacks analyzed, an increase from 7 percent in 2019,” the report said. “The organization must invest in technology to block attacks and provide training to help people act as a last line of defense and avoid falling victim to scammers’ latest tricks,” said Urs. (IANS)


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