Cybersecurity multinational McAfee's 'Quarterly Threats' report shows that there were nearly 7.5-million external attacks on cloud user accounts during the second quarter of this year across all major industries globally, including financial services, healthcare, public sector, education, retail, technology, manufacturing, energy, utilities, legal, real estate, transportation and business services.
The increase in cloud attacks is in large part owing to the impact of Covid-19. Cybercriminals have adjusted their campaigns to lure victims with pandemic themes and exploit the realities of mass working from home, the firm points out.
Further, McAfee saw PowerShell malware surge 117% owing to the proliferation of malicious Donoff documents, and new malware samples grew 11.5% in the second quarter, averaging 419 new threats a minute.
“The second quarter of 2020 saw continued developments in innovative threat categories such as PowerShell malware and the quick adaptation by cybercriminals to target organisations through employees working from remote environments,” says McAfee fellow and chief scientist Raj Samani.
“What began as a trickle of phishing campaigns and the occasional malicious app quickly turned into a deluge of malicious uniform resource locators (URLs), attacks on cloud users and capable threat actors leveraging the world’s thirst for more information on Covid-19 as an entry mechanism into systems across the globe.”
After a first quarter that saw the world plunge into pandemic, the second quarter saw enterprises continue to adapt to unprecedented numbers of employees working from home and the cybersecurity challenges this new normal demands.
In response, McAfee launched the McAfee Covid-19 Threats Dashboard to help security teams understand how bad actors have retargeted increasingly sophisticated techniques toward businesses, governments, schools and a workforce coping with Covid-19 restrictions and the potential vulnerabilities of remote device and bandwidth security.
Over the course of the second quarter, McAfee’s global network of more than a billion sensors observed a 605% increase in Covid-19-related attack detections compared with the first quarter.
After a 71% increase in new mobile malware samples in the first quarter, the second quarter saw the category slow 15% despite a surge in Android Mobby Adware.
New Internet of Things malware increased only 7% in the second quarter, but the space saw significant activity by Gafgyt and Mirai threats, both of which drove growth in new Linux malware by 22% during the period.
Meanwhile, McAfee counted 561 publicly disclosed security incidents in the second quarter, an increase of 22% from the first quarter.
"Overall, malware led among reported attack vectors accounting for 35% of publicly reported incidents in the second quarter. Account hijacking and targeted attacks accounted for 17% and 9%, respectively.
"Disclosed incidents detected in the second quarter targeting science and technology increased 91% over the previous quarter. Incidents in manufacturing increased 10%, but public sector events decreased by 14%."