COVID-19 Cyber Threats Spike 2,000%

July 3, 2020

AT&T Cybersecurity along with three members of the Telco Security Alliance (TSA) published a new report today, “COVID-19 Insight from the Telco Security Alliance.” The report provides insight into some of the threat groups (as well as analysis of their campaigns) that are taking advantage of the global pandemic while nations and organizations are vulnerable.

TSA members have observed a sharp increase in malicious activity related to COVID, with adversaries increasingly seeking to opportunistically benefit financially, gain unauthorized access to networks for immediate and long-term strategic benefit, and spread misinformation with political agendas.

The TSA shares threat intelligence through the AT&T Alien Labs Open Threat Exchange (OTX™), which has seen a significant spike in sharing of indicators of compromise (IOCs) related to threats that use fears around COVID-19 to the advantage of the adversary. The OTX community is responding and sharing information on COVID-related threats as they arise, at a new level of speed and openness. For example, OTX members have contributed more than 1 million COVID-related IOCs between January 1 – June 15, 2020. In March, during the height of the pandemic, OTX showed a 2,000% increase (+382,973) compared to February with regard to the number of COVIDrelated technical indicators (IOCs) contributed to OTX.

The Telco Alliance was formed by AT&T, Etisalat (HelpAG), Singtel (Trustwave), SoftBank, and Telefónica (ElevenPaths). The group aims to offer enterprises comprehensive cybersecurity insights to help address the threat of cyberattacks and the evolving threat landscape.

The “COVID-19 Insight from the Telco Security Alliance,” report was co-produced by the cybersecurity and threat intelligence units of AT&T (AT&T Cybersecurity and AT&T Alien Labs), Singtel (Trustwave), and Telefónica (ElevenPaths). The group investigated multiple threat actors (from crimeware to nation states) known to be actively engaged in attacks during the pandemic against private organizations and government agencies.

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