An average of 419 new threats per minute were witnessed globally as overall new malware samples grew by 11.5% in the second quarter of this year, cybersecurity company McAfee said on Thursday. The global impact of COVID-19 prompted cybercriminals to adjust their cybercrime campaigns to lure victims with pandemic themes and exploit the realities of a workforce working from home, said the "McAfee Threats Report: November 2020."
Over the course of Q2, McAfee saw a 605% increase in COVID-19-related attack detections compared to Q1. A significant proliferation in malicious Donoff Microsoft Office documents attacks propelled new PowerShell malware increase by 117%, said the report.
"The second quarter of 2020 saw continued developments in innovative threat categories such as PowerShell malware and the quick adaptation by cybercriminals to target organisations through employees working from remote environments," said Raj Samani, McAfee fellow and chief scientist.
"What began as a trickle of phishing campaigns and the occasional malicious app quickly turned into a deluge of malicious URLs, attacks on cloud users and capable threat actors leveraging the world's thirst for more information on COVID-19 as an entry mechanism into systems across the globe."
McAfee assesses the state of the cyber threat landscape each quarter based on research, investigative analysis, and threat data gathered by the McAfee Global Threat Intelligence cloud from over a billion sensors across multiple threat vectors around the world.
The cybersecurity company observed nearly 7.5 million external attacks on cloud user accounts. This is based on the aggregation and anonymisation of cloud usage data from more than 30 million McAfee MVISION cloud users worldwide during the second quarter of 2020.
After growing 26% in Q1, new Coinmining malware increased 25% over the previous quarter sustained by the popularity of new Coinmining applications, said the report.
McAfee said it counted 561 publicly disclosed security incidents in the second quarter of 2020, an increase of 22% from Q1. Disclosed incidents targeting North America decreased 30% over the previous quarter. These incidents decreased 47% in the US, but increased 25% in Canada and 29% in the UK, said the report.