The COVID-19 pandemic has created an ideal environment for cybercriminals to launch phishing campaigns intended to enable criminal activities ranging from simple theft of credentials to outright fraud. The depth of the illicit activity, however, is now reaching unprecedented levels.
A report from Bolster, which provides a platform that makes use of deep learning algorithms to identify fraudulent activity, confirms in the first three months of 2020 there were 854,441 confirmed phishing and counterfeit pages, with another 4 million web pages deemed suspicious. Roughly 30% of all those pages were in some way related to COVID-19, according to the report.
Overall, the report finds the number of phishing and counterfeit pages that went live rose to 8,342 in March from 3,142 in January. In March alone, Bolster claims it found 102,676 websites related to medical scams, with 1,092 websites either selling hydroxychloroquine or spreading misinformation about using it to cure COVID-19.