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Proofpoint Shows Phishing-Based Ransomware Attacks Are On The Rise Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

A study by Proofpoint, the cybersecurity firm, shows that phishing-based ransomware attacks are on the rise amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been reported that first-stage deployments of ransomware are reportedly on the rise and have mostly been targeting the United States, France, Germany, Greece, and Italy. 

However, the attacks appear to be capitalizing on the influx of people now working from home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research additionally indicates that the ransom demands are very low compared to the amounts usually seen in these attacks.

Proofpoint noted a surge in phishing-based ransomware attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic — Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) June 29, 2020

As per the report, a ransomware application called “Mr. Robot” has mostly targeted people and companies across the US in the past, as findings suggest that this has changed in recent months with home users becoming the main victims of the attack. To reflect the software’s new use case, ransom amounts have dropped as low as $100 in Bitcoin (BTC).

Likewise, a ransomware known as Avaddon distributed over one million messages in a single week. It too is known to target US companies and individuals.

The hackers behind Avaddon often demand $800 ransom payments in cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.

Thus, this particular team provides a “24/7 support” service to its victims which offers them advice on how to pay the ransom and how cryptocurrencies work.

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