The Impact of COVID-19 on the Cyber Scene?
With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the world has been forced to move online — in the absence of real life interactions and activities, many have turned to the world wide web for entertainment and communication purposes. According to user telemetry statistics collected from companies like SimilarWeb and Apptopia, services like Facebook, Netflix, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch have seen astronomical user activity growth between January and March, with user base growths of up to 27%. Websites such as Netflix and YouTube have seen millions of increased users online after the first U.S. COVID-19 death.
The increased internet usage worldwide has led to increasing concerns for cybersecurity in general — with the increased amounts of concurrent internet users daily, cyber criminals are searching for more victims. The likelihood of an average user being targeted by a cybercrime scheme has increased drastically as a result.
At the start of February 2020, the number of domains registered has increased rapidly. These numbers come from businesses that have started to adapt to the growing pandemic by setting up online shops and services, in order to retain their relevance and revenue during these changing times. With that said, as more and more companies begin to migrate online, more and more cyber criminals are beginning to register their own fake services and sites in order to gain traction on the internet and to find more potential victims.
Businesses that have never previously integrated online are much more vulnerable compared to businesses that have — new businesses often lack the technical experience and infrastructure to create safe services on the internet, leading to more potential for security breaches and cybersecurity flaws on the new websites and services created during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this fact, these types of companies make the perfect target for cybercriminals to perform phishing attacks on. As seen on the graph, the number of malicious sites visited has grown exponentially since the beginning of the pandemic, which is likely due to inexperienced businesses suffering from phishing and cybersecurity attacks. As a result, it is crucial that businesses are properly trained in how to defend themselves.