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Cyberattacks surge by 33% in a year

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

According to the data presented by Atlas VPN, cyberattacks have increased by 33% since last year – The total amount of malicious attacks in Q1 rose from 538 in 2020 to 713 in 2021.

In January 2020, there were a total of 160 cyberattacks. Meanwhile, January 2021 saw 183 malicious attacks — 14% more than the same month last year.

Looking at February’s numbers, we can see a tremendous increase in cyberattacks in 2021 compared to 2020. Malicious attacks jumped by 33% from 191 in 2020 to 254 in 2021.

In March 2021, cyberattacks grew more than 50% compared to March 2020. The total number of attacks went up from 187 to 276.

Cybersecurity writer and researcher at Atlas VPN, William Sword, said: “A significant increase in cyberattacks has shown that many companies or government administrations are not prepared to handle cybersecurity threats. With more and more people becoming victims of hackers, responsible institutions should step up their efforts in the cybersecurity field.”

Cybercriminals employ various techniques to penetrate vulnerable systems. Malware continues to be one of the most used techniques for cyberattacks. In Q1 2021 it was employed in 32% of all cyberattack cases. Hackers use malware to trick a victim into providing personal data for identity theft.

Unknown attacks were the second most-used in the first quarter of this year at 22%. The unknown threat is classified as such when a security product cannot recognize its code, which is why it is tough to stop such attacks.

Next up is account takeover (ATO). This type of cyberattack technique was used in 14% of all cyberattacks in Q1 2021.

Click here to read the full report.

Agari Report: New BEC scam 7X more costly than average, bigger phish start angling in

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Sophisticated threat actors, evolving phishing tactics, and a $800,000 business email compromise (BEC) scam in the second half of 2020 all signal trouble ahead, according to analysis from the Agari Cyber Intelligence Division (ACID).

After attacks on Magellan Health, GoDaddy, and the SolarWinds “hack of the decade,” one thing is distressingly clear. Phishing, BEC, and other advanced email threats continue to be one of the most effective attack vectors into organisations. And it’s getting worse.

Throughout the second half of 2020, ACID uncovered a troubling rise in eastern European crime syndicates piloting inventive forms of BEC. Indeed, the state-sponsored operatives launching attacks from pirated accounts in the SolarWinds attack were just a few of the sophisticated threat actors moving into vendor email compromise and other forms of BEC.

But in November, a sudden surge in the amount of money targeted in BEC scams could be tracked back to the resurgence of one particular source—the threat group we’ve dubbed Cosmic Lynx.

After sewing chaos with COVID 19-themed scams earlier in the year, the group’s tactics shifted toward vaccine ruses. More alarmingly, the group’s emails also started requesting recipients’ phone numbers in order to redirect the conversation. It’s unclear if the request is designed to disarm recipients or if actual phone messages or conversations are now part of the con.

The second biggest driver behind the late-year increase in the amount sought in BEC scams is a potent new pretext—capital call investment payments. Capital calls are transactions that occur when an investment or insurance firm seeks a portion of money promised by an investor for a specific investment vehicle.

In emails to targets, BEC actors masquerade as a firm requesting funds to be transferred in accordance to an investment. Because of the nature of such transactions, the payments requested are significantly higher than the average $72,044 sought in wire transfer scams during 2020. The average payout targeted in these capital call cons: $809,000.

To learn more about the latest trends in phishing, BEC scams and advanced email threats and how to stop them, request information at https://www.handd.co.uk/agari-secure-email-cloud/.