Taking advantage of the new crown epidemic, cybercriminals launch various attacks to make profits as much as possible. The European Union cybersecurity agency Enisa emphasized that such activities have led to the employment of hackers as the biggest threat to cybersecurity in the past 15 months. In the annual report of the study conducted from April 2020 to July 2021, Enisa stated that during the COVID-19 outbreak, cybercriminals have observed increased attacks on potential victims.
The agency stated: “The COVID-19 crisis has created the possibility for adversaries to use the pandemic as the dominant bait in activities such as email attacks. Monetization seems to be the main driver of this activity.”
One notable ransomware attack is the Colonial Pipeline incident, where the hacker group DarkSide exposed a security vulnerability found in an operator’s digital infrastructure. Eventually, it led to the closure of fuel supply lines serving the east coast of the United States.
Other key methods of concern to threat actors include phishing emails and brute force attacks on Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) services, which are still the two most common infection vectors.
Unsurprisingly, the preferred payment method for hackers is cryptocurrency. According to this research, other cyber threat areas that are experiencing growth include cryptojacking, which involves criminals secretly using the target’s computing power to generate cryptocurrency.
As Bitcoin and other coins soar to historical highs, this particular threat is expected to remain an attractive option in the near future. Bitcoin transactions worth $5.2 billion have been linked to ransomware.
The nine major threat groups identified are: ransomware, malware, encryption hijacking, email-related threats, threats to data, threats to availability and integrity, false/misleading information, non-malicious threats, and supply chain attacks.