Oman experiences more than 1.7 million email, URL and malware threats in first half of 2020

Business Saturday 03/October/2020 17:46 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman experiences more than 1.7 million email, URL and malware threats in first half of 2020

Muscat: Oman has experienced 1,764,518 email threats, 644,303 URL victims, 3,108 URL hosted, and 187,102 malware detections, according to an annual mid-year roundup report by Trend Micro Incorporated, the leader in cloud security.
The report reveals COVID-19 related threats as the single largest type of threat in the first half of the year.
During the first half of 2020, Oman tallied up a combined 2,599,031 email, URL, and malware threats detected by Trend Micro.
In just six months, Trend Micro blocked 8.8 million COVID-19 related threats, nearly 92 per cent of which were spam delivered via emails.
Cybercriminals shifted their focus from January through June to take advantage of global interest in the pandemic. The risk to businesses was compounded by security gaps created by a completely remote workforce.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) saw 56,870,977 combined email, URL, and malware threats detected during the first half of 2020. Cyber-threats included 41,236,550 email threats, 13,181,016 URL victims, 2,392,097 malware detections, and 61,314 URL hosted threats.
“The high rates of cyber-attacks in Oman and the GCC show that while the pandemic has dominated all of our lives during the first half of 2020, it’s not slowing down the cybercriminals,” said Assad Arabi, Country Manager – Oman, Trend Micro. “Oman’s IT leaders must continue to adapt their cybersecurity strategies to account for increased threats to their new normal. That means protecting remote endpoints, cloud systems, user credentials and VPN systems, as well as refreshing training courses to turn that newly dispersed workforce into a more effective first line of defence.”
In total, Trend Micro blocked 27.8 billion cyber threats in the first half of 2020, 93 per cent of which were email-borne.
Business Email Compromise (BEC) detections increased by 18 per cent from the second half of 2019, in part due to scammers trying to capitalise on home workers being more exposed to social engineering.
Among all the threats in the first half of the year, ransomware was a constant factor. Although the number of detected ransomware threats decreased, Trend Micro saw a 36 per cent increase in new ransomware families compared to the same time last year.
Global organisations have also been burdened by a significant spike in newly disclosed vulnerabilities. Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) published a total of 786 advisories, representing a 74 per cent increase from the second half of 2019. Some of these came as part of Microsoft Patch Tuesday updates, which have fixed an average of 103 CVEs per month so far in 2020 — including the largest number of patches ever issued in a single month (129) in June.
Trend Micro also observed a 16 per cent increase in vulnerabilities disclosed in industrial control systems (ICS), compared to the first half of 2019, which could create major challenges for smart factory owners and other organisations running IIoT environments.
To effectively protect dispersed corporate networks, Gartner recommends businesses “refine security monitoring capabilities to reflect an operating environment where network traffic patterns, data and system access vectors have changed due to increased remote and mobile operations.” Trend Micro XDR helps customers do exactly that by correlating security events across the entire IT environment, which is critical for holistic protection in the second half of 2020.