The cyber risk picture has never been darker. Most urgently, the rapid upsurge in remote work resulting from the pandemic has coincided with a massive uptick in cyber attacks.
Already in March 2020, online threats had risen by as much as six times their February 2020 levels. Hacking and phishing attempts alone were up 37 percent. Cloud-based attacks ballooned 630 percent between January 2020 and April 2020. By the end of the first half of 2020, 4.83 million distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks had been attempted.
From there, the surge in cyber attacks only got worse. By June 2020, reporting found a staggering 400 percent increase in cyber attacks. By August 2020, 80 percent of companies were reporting an annual increase in cyber attacks. Banks saw a 238 percent increase.
Finance wasn’t alone. The global healthcare sector also became a preferred target. In April 2020, the WHO confirmed a dramatic increase in the number of cyber attacks directed at its staff, as well as email scams targeting the public at large.
Besides the WHO, a high-profile IT incident involving a Czech Republic hospital ground that country’s COVID-19 testing effort to a temporary halt. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was also the victim of a foiled DDoS attack.
All-of-government attacks gained in popularity, as well. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Australia had been the target of coordinated cyber attacks against its public infrastructure, breaches that crippled vast networks and affected essential services.
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