May 14, 2020 Continent 8 Team

Webinar explores COVID-19’s impact on cyber threats

Opportunities created by the COVID-19 emergency are being exploited by criminals, hacktivists and others, resulting in a massive increase in the volume and scale of cyber attacks in recent weeks.

Continent 8’s own data shows a significant increase during April which saw a 200% increase compared to the first three months of this year. We have seen a steady increase in the number of large scale (10Gbps or greater) attacks – we have recorded more than 20 such incidents in recent weeks.

To help understand the methods and tactics being used by attackers, and how we can help you to protect your organisation, we teamed up with our trusted partner Radware for an exclusive webinar on May 7th which was part of EGR’s Weekly Virtual Series.

It was introduced by EGR Event Content Manager, Fergus Maunsell, who then handed over to the three expert panelists: Innovation Director Leon Allen and Head of Global Network Services Edward O’Connor (both from Continent 8); and Pascal Geenens, Director, Threat Intelligence at Radware.

Leon set the scene by giving a brief summary of Continent 8’s many years of experience in cyber security, and he then went on to explain the background to the current spike in attacks. The first part of Pascal’s presentation focused on the nature of DDoS attacks, the low costs involved for those who want to rent attacks, the individuals, groups and organisations involved, and their motives. He also explained how botnets work.

The Impact of Cyber Attacks

Edward cut through the technical jargon to give a fascinating explanation of why last year was so significant because of trends that emerged in Q2 and Q3 which have since continued, and then accelerated in recent months due to the COVID-19 crisis. From 2013 to 2018, he said, ‘traditional’ flood type attacks were the most common, but 2019 was different because there were significant changes in the second half of the year in terms of the pattern of attacks, profiles, and activities. During that time, and into 2020, flood attacks continued, but volumes increased and new types of attack also emerged due largely to opportunities that have been created by the massive increase in the number of connected devices now being used at home.

The last part of the webinar focused on the specific impact of COVID-19 as the panelists explained how and why the pandemic has been exploited by those with malicious motives. Pascal summarised the impact of employees working from home, schools conducting lessons online, and friends and families spending more time using Zoom and other video chat services. Fear and the need for information about COVID-19, he said, has been cynically exploited by attackers – one example being how internet searches for ‘face masks’ and ‘hand sanitizer’ have been used to drive hits to malware ridden websites.

The webinar concluded with a Q&A session. There was a prize for the best question and Continent 8 will be sending the winner (chosen by the panel) a hamper packed with delicious goodies and treats.

Thank you to the panelists, Fergus and the EGR team, and to everyone who watched or submitted questions.

To watch the webinar again click here.

To find out more about Continent 8’s award-winning cyber protection solutions email Leon Allen.