As the European Cybersecurity Awareness Month comes to an end, Check Point Software reveals what are the top five cyber threats that have been plaguing Europe throughout 2020.
Data from your Threat Intelligence Report show that over the past 6 months, an average of 333 attacks per week on European companies has been recorded. In line with what Rui Duro, Check Point Software’s Country Manager Portugal, had made public at a recent conference, e-mail is the main attack vector for cybercriminals, with 90% of malicious files spreading through e-mail. .
The researchers explain that one out of every two malicious files sent is Word documents with the extension “.doc”. In June, Check Point unveiled a malicious campaign in which hackers sent documents that appeared to be CVs to spread different types of malware.
The files were sent by email as Excel attachments that, when opened, required victims to give them permission to access the content. By consenting the user, he was unknowingly downloading the malware Zloader, a banking trojan designed to steal personal information and credentials.
Among the biggest cyber threats that have affected Europe then are the attacks related to the COVID-19 pandemic, seen by Check Point as the most widely used topic for launching malicious campaigns.
The consequences of the public health crisis have significantly affected the current cyberthreats scenario, and the company indicates that there has been an increase in the registration of virus-related domains designed for phishing attacks.
It is recalled that, in July, CERT.PT reported a growth of 124% in cybersecurity incidents, with phishing being the most frequent type of attack. In line with the findings of the CNCS Cybersecurity Observatory, one of Kaspersky’s most recent studies revealed that Portugal is the second country most affected by phishing campaigns. The data shows that, in the second quarter of the year, 13.51% of Portuguese users were victims of attacks.
Ransomware remains a concern and Check Point researchers detail that cybercriminals have refined their strategies, now using a new type of attack, known as double extortion.
In the new variant, hackers extract files before encrypting computers, threatening their publication if a ransom is not paid. Hospitals and institutions related to the health sector are the main targets, since they hold a large amount of sensitive information, in many cases having low levels of protection.
Keeping up with the latest trends in the technological world, cybercriminals have been developing new infection vectors aimed at the mobile ecosystem. Check Point emphasizes that hackers are also taking advantage of the decentralization of work environments and the use of laptops for remote work and the new generation of cyber threats now has features that prevent detection and that allow spread via mobile applications.
Regarding the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the world of companies, the Cloud has gained an increasing importance. However, Check Point’s Cloud Security Report 2020 makes it known that cybercriminals are taking advantage of the migration to the “cloud” to infiltrate work networks, access sensitive information and disseminate malware campaigns.
Researchers also claim that the “cold cyberwar” is one of the biggest trends they have been seeing, due to the greater intensity and frequency of digital criminal activity. Hackers can even play a major role in controlling “collective thinking” during political or electoral processes.
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