Mimecast has published its new global report titled, The Year of Social Distancing. Drawing on data from the Mimecast threat intelligence team, the report details how threat actors targeted remote workers during the first year of the pandemic, March 2020 to February 2021. The report describes how attack volume surged by 48% during the first year of the pandemic, with sudden increases in volume corresponding to spikes in Covid-19 infection rates in April and October 2020.
The report also examines the cyber habits of at-home workers, which revealed some alarming facts, including:
- A 3x rise in unsafe clicks in March 2020, right when the work-from-home trend began
- In the UAE, 61% of the respondents admitted to opening suspicious e-mails, while 50% do not report suspicious emails to their IT or security teams
- 87% of UAE respondents extensively use their company-issued device for personal matters, with 66% admitting to an increase in frequency since starting to work remote
Even though vaccine rollouts have begun, and organisations may soon start making plans for people to return to offices in the months ahead, the Mimecast threat intelligence team has assessed the likelihood of threat actors continuing to exploit the unsettled work situation as very likely, 95% or above. These exploitation efforts will likely focus both on remote workers and those returning to the office which creates the possibility of a new unsettled situation that opens the door for the possibility of new waves social engineering campaigns.
Josh Douglas, Vice President, Product Management at Mimecast said, “We expect this challenging threat environment to continue for the foreseeable future. It has never been more important for enterprises to take steps to counter these digital-deception campaigns by hardening employees as targets through ongoing cybersecurity training programs, and to secure the infrastructure of the new virtual workplace, particularly e-mail and collaboration tools,” added Douglas.