The COVID-19 pandemic has given hackers a whole new set of vulnerable businesses to attack. Hackers are using the pandemic in various malicious campaigns, including email spam, ransomware, malware, and malicious domains. According to IBM Security’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2021 report, Linux-related malware threats are rapidly surging. The threat actors are spoofing top tech brands and shifting tactics in response to the evolving pandemic situation. In this article at Security Intelligence, Camille Singleton shares the report’s insight and explains the perils of spoofed brands, Linux malware, and COVID-19 targeting.
Linux-based workstations and servers are considered safer and less prone to cyber threats than their Windows counterparts. The Linux operating systems power nearly 90% of the cloud workload, serving as the cloud and hybrid cloud infrastructures’ backbone. “Cybercriminals are taking note and recognize that cloud environments present opportunities for them as well. In particular, they are investing more time and effort into creating malware tailored to a cloud environment,” says Singleton.
According to the report, Linux-based malware grew 40% from 2019 to 2021, with nearly 500% from 2010 to 2020. The research has also identified that cybercriminals are investing in creating new Linux crypto-mining malware. This suggests that hackers aim to exploit cloud computing’s processing power to access cryptocurrency.
Capitalizing on Top Brands For Data Theft
The report highlights that criminals attempt to imitate a well-known brand’s official website using a similar domain name or URL and web-page design to the genuine site. Some top brands include Microsoft, DHL, Google, PayPal, Netflix, Facebook, Apple, WhatsApp, Amazon, Instagram, and YouTube. Cybercriminals plant malware on websites and user devices to steal user credentials or collect payment card information.
COVID-19 Used in Malicious Campaigns
The spike in malicious activities coincided with a shift in social engineering tactics. Hackers are using coronavirus-related job listings and school updates instead of using pandemic information to trick users. For instance, malicious actors used titles related to job opportunities to trick users into opening spam emails. Threat actors are aware of what users click on and use the obvious bait to make their scheme more effective.
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