When you block 100 million phishing email messages every day, you get plenty of data to see trends. Google has seen a big one in recent weeks: Nearly one-fifth of all phishing email messages identified on the Gmail platform now feature coronavirus or COVID-19 as part of their content.
According to Google, last week saw roughly 18 million email messages rejected per day because they were identified as phishing messages preying on fears around the coronavirus pandemic. Typical messages used fear or financial incentives to create a sense of urgency in the recipient and claimed to be from authoritative government agencies or credible NGOs.
Phishing messages frequently ask the recipient to download a file containing a form to be filled out (along with, all too frequently, a malware payload) or to visit a malicious website to fill out a form before a government subsidy or other payment can be delivered.
The 18 million COVID-19-related phishing messages were, according to Google, in addition to more than 240 million coronavirus-themed spam messages sent to Gmail accounts every day.
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