Analyzing the current cyberthreats of Q4 2020, Positive Technologies experts reveal an increase in the number of attacks aimed at the trade industry and medical institutions around the world. Another feature of Q4 was the increase in the number of social engineering attacks on individuals.
Throughout 2020, experts observed a quarterly increase in the number of cyber incidents, and Q4 was no exception. The number of attacks increased by 3.1% compared to Q3; and grew by 42.2% compared to the same period in 2019.
The previously noted trend of switching from social engineering to hacking methods in attacks on organizations strengthened in Q4. On the contrary, in incidents affecting individuals, experts recorded a surge in the use of social engineering techniques, with the share of this method increasing from 67% in Q3 to 86% in Q4.
According to the report, Cybersecurity Threatscape: Q4 2020, the number of attacks on the trade industry increased by 56% compared to Q3 and is the highest level seen in the past two years. About a third of the incidents in this area were committed by ransomware operators, as, for example, in the case of the attack on E-Land, a South Korean retailer.
In one out of five attacks on retailers, criminals placed web skimmers 1 on hacked store websites.
Pharmaceutical companies involved in the production and supply chain of the COVID-19 vaccine, such as Fareva, Dr Reddy’s, and Johnson & Johnson have also come under a multitude of attacks. Criminals not only try to steal intellectual property and disrupt production, but also continue to exploit ordinary people’s interest in vaccines.
According to Positive Technologies’ research, in Q4 about 40% of all phishing emails concerning the pandemic were related to the COVID-19 vaccine.