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Ransomware and BEC attack detections surged at start of 2020

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Nicescene)

Ransomware and business email compromise (BEC) attacks surged in the first two months of the year, according to new figures from cybersecurity firm Trend Micro.

In February, the company detected two million ransomware attempts, representing a 20 percent increase over the previous month. Most attacks came from China (31 percent in January and 43 percent in February) and the US (16 and 13 percent).

BEC attacks, meanwhile, rose by almost a quarter (24.3 percent) in February. Trend Micro says various methods are being employed, from CEO fraud, to fake invoices and compromised employee email accounts.

CEO fraud is most commonly found in the UK, the US and Australia, which the report claims is due to the fact many multinational organisations are headquartered in these locales.

Generally speaking, email is by far the most popular threat vector – 93 percent of all blocked threats came via email.

“IT security teams around the world may be under significant pressure today, as the corporate attack surface expands thanks to mass home working demands in the face of the Covid-19 epidemic. But now more than ever, they must be on high alert as opportunistic cyber-attackers look to strike,” said Ian Heritage, Cloud Security Architect at Trend Micro.

Emotet, Ryuk and Trickbot were the most active malware families across January and February, the report concluded.