Money (That's what email attackers want)

Cybercriminal with cash

A new report from email security and cyber resilience company Mimecast, released to coincide with this year's virtual Black Hat conference, reveals that threat actors are motivated by monetary gain more than stealing data or intellectual property.

It also finds that COVID-19 continues to be a major theme in current attacks, especially in certain sectors, and that opportunistic and malware-based campaigns are being launched at volumes never seen before, with manufacturing, retail/wholesale, finance/insurance, and media and publishing being the hardest hit.

The volume of sender impersonation attacks increased by 24 percent between January and June to reach nearly 46 million per month.

Malware-based attacks are becoming more sophisticated, with 42 significant campaigns identified during the six month period the report covers. These campaigns show a significant uptick in the use of short-lived, high volume, targeted and hybridized attacks against all sectors of the US economy. Researchers believe it's highly likely threat actors are targeting industries that have remained operable during the 'stay at home' period in the US, as well as those key to the nation's recovery from the current pandemic. Interestingly, the Media and Publishing sector suffered high volumes of impersonation attacks (48.4 million detections), potentially as a vehicle for cybercriminals to spread disinformation.

"If one thing is for certain, the pandemic we’re living in today has caused scares beyond just health concerns. We've continued to see threat actors tap into the vulnerabilities of humans and launch campaign after campaign with a COVID-19 hook, in attempt to get users to click harmful links or open malicious. files," says Josh Douglas, vice president of product management, threat intelligence at Mimecast. "The ultimate goal of Mimecast's Threat Intelligence Reports is to help organizations better understand today’s threat landscape, so they can prepare for tomorrow's threats and make better informed decisions to improve their cyber resilience."

The full report is available from the Mimecast site.

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