Gmail blocked 18 million phishing emails related COVID-19 over the week

Gmail blocked phishing emails
Written by Emma Davis

Google’s developers are adapting machine learning to tackle scammers, cybercriminals, and government hackers who actively use the coronavirus pandemic theme for phishing attacks. The company said it blocked more than 18 million phishing emails related to COVID-19, which targeted Gmail users last week.

Coronavirus phishing accounts for approximately 2.5% of the 100,000,000 phishing emails Google blocks daily. Also, developers report blocking 240 million daily spam messages related to COVID-19.

This surge of phishing activity on the topic of coronavirus forced Microsoft and Google to adjust their client protection strategies. The fact is that the total number of phishing attacks has not increased, just the attackers follow the trends and adjust their messages in accordance with the situation in the world.

We have implemented proactive monitoring for COVID-19-related malware and phishing in our systems and workflows. In many cases, these threats are not new, but they are known malicious campaigns that have been updated to exploit increased attention to the topic of COVID-19”, – write Google developers.

For example, Google will detect phishing emails in which attackers pretend to be the World Health Organization (WHO) in order to trick people into donating money or distributing malware.

Microsoft engineers began to apply similar tactics, as also noticed that old and well-known companies were “reprofiling” and are now exploiting the theme of the pandemic.

We are seeing a change in lures, but not a surge in new attacks. Although SmartScreen detects and processes more than 18,000 malicious URLs and IP addresses associated with COVID-19 daily, they make up less than 2% of the total threats”, — writes Microsoft 365 Security Corporate Vice President.

Let me remind you that after the March cyberattack on the World Health Organization, Microsoft made AccountGuard free for health care providers, as well as for human rights and humanitarian organizations around the world.

Also note that the operators of Maze and DoppelPaymer ransomware suspended attacks on medical organizations. However, one of them soon broke the promise.

In turn, Google notes that advanced protection against phishing and malware are included in the G-Suite by default, which guarantees automatic protection for users.

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About the author

Emma Davis

I'm writer and content manager (a short time ago completed a bachelor degree in Marketing from the Gustavus Adolphus College). For now, I have a deep drive to study cyber security.

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