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Cyber attacks threat grows under Covid-19

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Cyber attacks threat grows under Covid-19

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(ATHENS) - Cyber criminals have advanced their capabilities during the pandemic, adapting quickly and targeting relevant victim groups more effectively, according to a report Tuesday from the EU cybersecurity agency.

The 8th annual ENISA Threat Landscape (ETL) 2020 report, published by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA), with the support of the European Commission, EU Member States and the CTI Stakeholders Group, identifies and evaluates the top cyber threats for the period January 2019-April 2020.

The ETL report warns of a long road ahead to a more secure digital environment, mainly due to the weakening of existing cybersecurity measures through changes in working and infrastructure patterns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This global phenomenon has led to a surge in cyber criminals' personalised cyber attacks, using more advanced methods and techniques.

Boasting a new visual and digital format, this year's threat landscape contains seven strategic reports, along with 15 in-depth reports on the top cyber threats, including on Cyber Threat Intelligence, Sectoral and Thematic Threats, major cybersecurity incidents in the EU and worldwide and Emerging Trends.

The top 15 cyber threat reports include findings, major incidents, statistics and more. Malware, web-based attacks and phishing are among the top threats, as well as cyber espionage and identity theft .

The ETL report highlights key aspects and trends related to the threat landscape:

  • There will be a new norm during and after the COVID-19 pandemic that is even more dependent on a secure and reliable cyberspace;
  • The number of fake online shopping websites and fraudulent online merchants reportedly has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. From copycats of popular brands websites to fraudulent services that never deliver the merchandise, the coronavirus revealed weaknesses in the trust model used in online shopping;
  • The number of cyberbullying and sextortion incidents also increased with the COVID-19 pandemic. The adoption of mobile technology and subscription to digital platforms makes younger generations more vulnerable to these types of threats;
  • Malicious actors are using social media platforms to increase efficiency in targeted attacks;
  • Financial reward is still the main motivation behind most cyber attacks;
  • Finely targeted and persistent attacks on high-value data, such as intellectual property and state secrets, are being meticulously planned and executed often by state-sponsored actors;
  • Massively distributed attacks with a short duration and wide impact are used with multiple aims such as credential theft;
  • The number of phishing victims in the EU continues to grow with malicious actors using the COVID-19 theme to lure them in. COVID-19-themed attacks include messages carrying malicious file attachments and messages containing malicious links that redirect users to phishing sites or malware downloads;
  • Business Email Compromise (BEC) and COVID-19-themed attacks are being used in cyber-scams resulting in the loss of millions of euros for EU citizens and corporations. European Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have also fallen victim of these threats in a time when many are going through severe financial difficulties due to the loss of revenue;
  • Ransomware remains widespread with costly consequences to many EU organisations;
  • Many cybersecurity incidents still go unnoticed or take a long time to be detected;
  • The number of potential vulnerabilities in a virtual or physical environment continues to expand as a new phase of digital transformation arises (as technology will keep diversifying);
  • With more security automation, organisations will invest more in preparedness using CTI as their main capability.

ENISA Threat Landscape Report 2020

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