Covid-19 impact: Subex detects a significant rise in attacks on smart home devices, enterprises, and critical infrastructure

Hackers and attacks are now evolving faster than ever before. A new breed of hackers acting in unison with APT groups appears

Subex today released the findings of its quarterly threat landscape report for the first quarter of 2020. This is the first report for the year 2020, and it comprehensively documents the impact of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic on the global cyber threat landscape.

Subex, it may be recalled, had issued an advisory on the onset of Coronavirus themed attacks in the first week of March this year. Subsequently, the company, as part of its overall monitoring, has been keeping tabs on the changes in the threat environment brought about by these attacks and by the emergence of new actors focused on attacking specific segments such as healthcare. Subex has also detected and reported a spurt in deceptive attacks on critical infrastructure elements across the world, especially in Eastern Europe, where these attacks are growing in volume. The quality of these attacks is also improving with each passing week.

What has changed in the last quarter:

  • 46 percent increase in critical attacks on smart homes, enterprises and control systems connected to critical infrastructure 
  • A rise in deceptive attacks on critical infrastructure (designed to keep national CERT teams and other cyber defense agencies occupied while the hackers chase other high-value targets)
  • 68 percent rise in Coronavirus-themed phishing emails across classes. Enterprise and manufacturing are the two main target segments 
  • High levels of Advance Persistent Threat (APT) group activity groups recorded in 47 days last quarter. These groups came mainly from 3 countries; activity levels correlate with known espionage and disruption patterns seen in the past 
  • Most attacked regions – North America, South Asia, and the Middle East  
  • A new breed of hackers acting to destabilize enterprises through complex social engineering means and targeted deceptive messaging emerges

“As the world adjusts to the new normal, hackers are evolving faster than ever before. They are taking advantage of our diffused attention and the lack of resources to keep up the pressure on cybersecurity teams at an enterprise, individual users, and government levels. Such widespread attacks themed on the Covid-19 pandemic are unprecedented and require coordinated action from all stakeholders to defeat the machinations of the actors involved. I am confident that this report and its findings will serve as critical inputs in helping secure our assets, data, and infrastructure,” said Vinod Kumar, Managing Director & CEO, Subex.

This report has been prepared using data gathered and analyzed from Subex’s global honeypot network functional across 62 cities around the world.