A phishing scam targeting UK businesses posed as the government approving a business grant application and directed recipients to an imitation government portal where users were prompted to enter their email and password, Mimecast discovered.
“This scam is targeting businesses that are struggling due to Covid-19 and the resulting lockdown,” said Kiri Addison, head of data science at Mimecast. “Lots of UK businesses will have applied for a business grant during this time and could therefore believe this email is genuine. The scam relies upon desperate business owners or confused users clicking on the link and filling in their personal details, which are then stolen by the cybercriminals to potentially use in future crime.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a boom in coronavirus-themed cyber attacks and scams. When the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre put out a call to the public to report any coronavirus-related internet scams in May, it was flooded with more than 160,000 suspicious emails within two weeks. A Mimecast report found that coronavirus has led to a 33 per cent increase in opportunistic cybercrime.
Email continues to dominate these attacks, with Mimecast finding that 60 per cent of organisations believe it’s inevitable that they’ll fall prey to an email-based attack at some point in the next year. The report also finds that 60 per cent witnessed an increase in impersonation since last year, while 51 per cent have been impacted by ransomware in the past 12 months.