9.14.21 – SIW – Hanover, Germany
New research shows cybercriminals have leveraged COVID-19 to proliferate ransomware schemes
Criminal hackers have attacked more companies to extort ransoms during the coronavirus crisis, research published on Monday suggests.
The study by the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony (KFN) found that working from home and the use of private hardware and software was a weak point in firms’ cybersecurity.
One common way malware gets into a company’s system is when home office workers receive mails infected with malware.
“This is a highly professional business” in which attackers can target thousands of potential victims at once, explained Ruediger Trost from the security company F-Secure.
“If a computer is infected, it serves as a bridge into the company network. The attackers advance in the network and identify and infect further computers. And they try to find out which company they broke into in the first place to determine the ransom amount.”
The report’s authors surveyed a total of 5,000 companies with more than 10 employees in 2018/19. More than 600 companies participated again in a follow-up survey between July and September 2020. Sixty per cent of them reported that they had to respond to at least one cyberattack within the past year.
These figures did not include attacks that were automatically averted, for example through a firewall.
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