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Gmail blocks 18 million coronavirus malware and phishing attacks every day

(Image credit: Image Credit: Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock)

Gmail currently blocks millions of coronavirus-themed phishing emails every day, according to a new blog post.

Authored by Gmail security leads Neil Kumaran and Sam Lugani, the post explains the service blocked 18 million malware and phishing emails relating to the virus outbreak each day of last week, plus an additional 240 million spam messages.

According to Kumaran and Lugani, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is the most frequently impersonated institution as part of these attacks. Cybercriminals use the WHO name and branding to trick victims into downloading malicious email attachments that resemble legitimate documents, which then infect the target device with malware.

Besides teaching its machine learning (ML) software to spot dangerous emails, Google also said it worked with the WHO “to clarify the importance of an accelerated implementation of DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance)," which makes impersonating the who.int domain more challenging.

Overall, Gmail blocks more than 99.9 per cent of spam, phishing and malware, with total daily phishing attacks coming in at 100 million.