As all things digital have soared throughout quarantine, so has hacking activity. With a 300% rise in cyberattacks during quarantine, you’d think it was a Billions season finale. COVID-19 has increased our usage and reliance on the internet, which gives hackers double the opportunity to scam people with phishing attacks and malware. After all, we’re amid a pandemic that forced us to adopt a new normal, barreling us towards dependence on digital tools and often leading us wide-open for attacks.
According to a recent report from Google, scammers are enjoying a successful year of hacking. Google discovered over 149,195 active phishing websites in January. By March, there were 522,495—a 350% increase since the start of 2020.
A major factor in the rise of these scams is fake COVID-19 websites. These websites ask for personal information in exchange for a cure or treatment. Security company RiskIQ tracked COVID-19 keywords and identified over 300,000 suspicious COVID-19 websites were created in March 2020 alone.
For years, there have been signs that phishing attacks were a growing threat. And as it turns out, most laypeople are pretty bad at figuring out the difference between a real website, email, or scam. Now that the world has been capsized, hackers have a much easier time finding breaches in security.
The Future of Cybersecurity
It’s no surprise the global AI cybersecurity market is projected to grow from $12 billion in 2020 to $30.5 billion by 2025, according to VynZ Research. AI is not only used to detect hacks but also to investigate hacks through the unsupervised and supervised machine and deep learning. While this pandemic is unpredictable and painful, it’s preparing us to adopt useful tech at a faster (read: better) pace than ever before. Just don’t expect AI to write those job descriptions anytime soon.
So, what can we do about these phishing attacks right now? We have to start by shifting our mindset from 1s and 0s to a more holistic view. No system is impenetrable, hacks happen, we need to consider how wide-open many employee’s home offices are leaving companies all over the world to attack. Employees everywhere should be encouraged to use a VPN and password manager to keep their company’s information, safety, and privacy intact.
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