National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) advisories and open source media reporting have identified cybercriminal groups targeting individuals, SMBs, and large enterprises, including those in the healthcare sector, with COVID-19 related scams and phishing emails.
Through its fundamental role in supporting a nation, healthcare is considered part of a nation’s critical national infrastructure. With such importance alongside water, electricity supply and distribution, and transport networks, the sector becomes an attractive target for those entities intent on causing disruption, chaos, and exploiting times of confusion and uncertainty. New Mimecast Threat Center research has uncovered significant increases in malicious URLs, spam, and impersonation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the UK healthcare sector, which includes hospitals and clinics, researchers noted spam campaigns were the most frequent attack vector from January through June 2020, followed by impersonation attacks, which peaked on 31 March 2020 and dipped on 24 May.
Since the WannaCry attack on the National Health Service in 2017, the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology sectors have been conscious of the possibilities of a ransomware attack, for good reason: global ransomware attacks have increased significantly in number over previous years and have caused millions of dollars of data recovery costs, brand damage recovery costs, operational costs, insurance costs, and other expenses to organisations. From January to June 2020, threat intelligence researchers noted that it’s highly likely these attacks will continue, given the reward for cybercriminals can be high.
For more information on how cybercriminals are taking advantage of the global pandemic, as well as how Mimecast mitigates the threat, download the report.
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