Successful Malware Incidents Rise as Attackers Shift Tactics

Successful Malware Incidents Rise as Attackers Shift Tactics
As employees moved to working from home and on mobile devices, attackers followed them and focused on weekend attacks, a security firm says.

Companies relaxed security controls to help employees to be productive during the coronavirus pandemic, leading attackers to shift their tactics and take advantage of the chaos caused by remote work, according to a report published by cloud security firm Wandera on Jan. 15.


Compared with pre-pandemic times, employees were twice as likely to connect to inappropriate content during work hours and more likely to continue accessing email after being compromised with mobile malware, the company states in its "Cloud Security Report 2021." As a result, attackers shifted attacks to the weekends, and 41% more organizations experienced a malware infection on an employee's remote device.


The data underscores that as companies adapted to the realities of the pandemic, attackers sought out weaknesses exposed by the new work arrangements, says Michael Covington, vice president at Wandera.


"Most organizations really had to focus on keeping people being productive, and that meant you had to peel back the policies, and just make it easier for people to get into their applications, to use their devices, and feel empowered, because IT wasn't available to physically go to workers and help them out," Covington says.


The shift in tactics allowed attackers to shift the way they tried to infect those workers in order to catch them when they were at their least vigilant.


For example, while attack trends in previous years showed attackers generally targeted users on weekdays to catch them working from their office environment, when most employees moved to working from home, attackers began shifting to weekend attacks. At their peak, Wandera's data shows that 6% more attacks happened on Saturdays than any ..