(Developing Story) The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is being used in a variety of malicious campaigns including email spam, BEC, malware, ransomware, and malicious domains, Trend Micro has reported.
As the number of those afflicted continue to surge by thousands, campaigns that use the disease as a lure likewise increase. Trend Micro researchers are periodically sourcing for samples on coronavirus-related malicious campaigns. This report also includes detections from other researchers.
The mention of current events for malicious attacks is nothing new for threat actors, who time and again use the timeliness of hot topics, occasions, and popular personalities in their social engineering strategies.
We analyzed coronavirus-related malware and spam attacks that our customers encountered globally in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020, from January to the present. We then categorized them according to region, namely the Asia Pacific Region (APAC), Latin America Region (LAR), North American Region (NABU), and Europe, Middle East, & Africa Region (EMEA).
The data came from our Smart Protection Network mechanism and are detected based on heuristic patterns. The number of spam corresponds to spam emails with the word “coronavirus” in the subject. The malware count is composed mostly of the accompanying malware files in these spam messages.
As seen in the chart above, customers in the EMEA region had the most attacks at around 130,000 for both malware and spam. APAC saw around 28,000 attacks for both. NABU has over 21,000 for malware and over 22,000 for spam, while LAR has over 18,000 for malware and 19,000 for spam.
For EMEA, customers in the UK received almost a third of all malware and spam attacks for the region at over 41,000 for both. Next is France at almost 24,000 for malware and almost 23,000 for spam. Italy, one of the countries most affected by the coronavirus, has been hit by over 11,000 spam and malware cases, making it the country in EMEA that has seen the third-most coronavirus-related campaigns.
Trendmicro.com (March 2020) Developing Story: Coronavirus Used in Malicious Campaigns