Posted on April 24, 2020

Qatar has recorded 2,033 email, URL, and file threats related to the COVID-19 coronavirus in Q1 2020, the second-highest in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), according to new research from Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704), a global leader in cybersecurity solutions.

As the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread, the topic is being used in many malicious campaigns -- including email spam, business email compromise (BEC), malware, ransomware, and malicious domains. Fraud activity is still on the rise as communities remain in quarantine.

Qatar had among the higher GCC figures – including 1,923 email spam attacks, 108 URL attacks, 2 malware threats detected. Figures are based on cyberthreats blocked by Trend Micro. During Q1 2020, the GCC recorded 8,984 email spam attacks, the 4th-highest in Asia; 772 URL attacks, the 6th-highest in Asia; and 17 malware threats detected, the 8th-highest in Asia. “While Qatar has brought COVID-19 coronavirus under control from a public health standpoint, that the country ranks second-highest in the GCC for COVID-19 cyber-attacks shows that organizations need to do more to tighten their cyber security solutions and processes,” said Assad Arabia, Country Manager – Qatar, Trend Micro.

Worldwide, Trend Micro blocked more than 907,000 spam messages, recorded more than 48,000 hits on malicious URLs, and detected 737 malware threats all related to COVID-19 coronavirus. In threats related to COVID-19, URL attacks increased 260x and email spam attacks increased 220x from February 2020-March 2020. The United States leads in all COVID-19 attacks. “As Qatar employees adapt to new methods of working, they should be wary of cybercriminals using popular online tools, sharing software, and file attachments in their scams,” added Assad Arabi. “Unverified mobile apps tracking COVID-19 can also present major risks.”

Industry experts recommend a multilayered protection approach to protect all fronts and prevent users from accessing malicious domains that could deliver malware. Trend Micro solutions can detect and block malware, malicious domains, and spear phishing emails; find unknown malware using machine learning; thwart spam and email attacks; and use AI to identify email attacks.

For more information on Trend Micro’s tracking of the latest COVID-19 coronavirus threats, visit: https://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/us/security/news/cybercrime-and-digital-threats/coronavirus-used-in-spam-malware-file-names-and-malicious-domains

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