Coronavirus Vaccine Provides Major Opportunity for Hackers, Says Report

Coronavirus Vaccine Provides Major Opportunity for Hackers, Says Report 2
Artificial intelligence, machine learning and coronavirus vaccines represent major emerging targets for cyber attacks in 2021, according to Steve Povolny, McAfee’s global head of advanced threat research.And while McAfee has not detected a significant shift in consumer “security maturity” over the past year, awareness of the risks has increased.

“[2020] was a year of continued rise of malware and ransomware, and some of the biggest targeted attacks and some of the most major vulnerabilities we’ve seen in the public space in many years,” Mr Povolny said.

In its latest report, titled The Hidden Costs of Cybercrime, McAfee estimated the global cost of cyber incursions had become a $US1 trillion ($1.3 trillion) drag on the global economy with financial losses reaching about $US945 billion.

“Our 2018 report found that cybercrime cost the global economy more than $US600 billion. Our new estimate suggests a more than 50 per cent increase in two years,” McAfee said.

Mr Povolny said the debate about whether companies should pay ransoms would continue in 2021, noting payments often in the millions of dollars had “emboldened” hackers who have professionalised their operations.

He said some ransomware operators were offering 24/7 “customer support” to victims, with some even providing a vulnerability report; others are now promoting themselves as ransomware-as-a-service providers.


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