Criminal Groups Turn to Cybercrime Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

Criminal organizations and crime syndicates are turning to cyber crime methods in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Only 3 months after the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared a global state of emergency, UN officials were reporting rapid growth in the number of email-delivered malware, which was up by over 600 percent. By October, ransomware attacks against both private and public institutions was up by 40 percent.

Officials at the UN and around the world have seen the resurgence of veteran cyber criminals, as well as the addition of newer crime organizations to the online fold. Officials suspect that this rush to online criminal activity is a response to revenue lost because of COVID restrictions.

FBI officials have reported similar numbers, noting that complaints and reports to the cybercrime division had more than tripled within 6 weeks of the pandemic hitting the US. The majority of these reports involved phishing scams, which involves using email to extort users personal information. Automated phishing kits have been seen available for purchase on dark web sites for as low as $50.

Experts are concerned that while the world may be slowly working their way out of COVID-19 restrictions, criminal organizations may just be waking up to the possibilities of online criminal endeavors.

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