Half of global businesses report rise on phishing email scams during Covid-19

Global study from Barracuda Networks reveals half of companies have seen a surge in email phishing scams from hackers, whilst a similar amount expect to see a data breach in the coming months due to remote working during the Coronavirus outbreak

by Patrick Sullivan, Political Editor on 6 May 2020 11:01

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Half of companies have experienced a rise in cyber attacks during Covid-19, according to a new global study. The poll of global businesses revealed that just under half (41%) say they have cut cyber security spending to make savings during the Covid-19 outbreak, according to research from Barracuda Networks.

The survey of over 1,000 senior business decision-makers also revealed that 51% of companies had experienced a sharp rise in email phishing attacks in the last two months. A previous Barracuda study revealed a 667% increase in COVID-19-themed phishing attacks in just a month, to the end of March.

In total, 49% of companies said they expect to see a data breach or significant security incident in the next month. In addition, 46% said they’re not confident that their web apps are completely secure, and 50% are allowing staff to use personal email addresses and devices at home for work.

“Naturally, opportunistic hackers are on the lookout to target vulnerable organisations, which may have weak security infrastructure in place during this difficult time. The risk when cybersecurity is de-prioritized or neglected by businesses, is that hackers can target untrained, susceptible remote workers with increasingly sophisticated and incredibly realistic-looking email phishing attacks,” said Barracuda Networks Chief Technology Officer, Fleming Shi.

“As many businesses enter their third month of remote working, it’s time they refocus efforts on tackling this growing cyber-threat. At this crucial time, one successful data breach could be the final straw for many businesses which are already facing an uphill battle against COVID-19. In the current threat-scape, it’s no longer a matter of if a company’s security will be tested by cyber-criminals, it’s a matter of when,” added Shi.

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