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Trend Micro Incorporated has revealed that COVID-19 related threats are the single largest type of threat in the first half of the year, according to its annual mid-year roundup report. In just six months, Trend Micro blocked 8.8 million COVID-19 related threats, nearly 92 percent 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 pandemic has dominated all of our lives during the first half of 2020, but it’s not slowing down the cybercriminals. Our research shows that the pandemic is providing fertile grounds for attack campaigns,” said Nilesh Jain, Vice President for Southeast Asia and India, Trend Micro.

“Unusual times call for robust security technologies. 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, and refreshing training courses to turn that newly dispersed workforce into a more effective first line of defense.”

In total, Trend Micro blocked 27.8 billion cyber threats in the first half of 2020, 93 percent of which were email-borne. In Singapore, a total of 172,611,589 email threats were detected. Compared to the first half of 2019, malware detections in Singapore increased by 70 percent in the first six months of 2020.

Trend Micro also observed a 16 percent 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 organizations 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.

 

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