Ransomware, malware exploit coronavirus themes

Fortinet finds new risks amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Johannesburg, 01 Jun 2020
Read time 2min 30sec
Doros Hadjizenonos, regional sales director at Fortinet
Doros Hadjizenonos, regional sales director at Fortinet

Monitoring of billions of security events daily has revealed that cyber criminals are exploiting fears of COVID-19 to step up ransomware and malware attacks, reports Fortinet FortiGuard Labs.

The research indicates that ransomware will be a hallmark challenge for the year ahead, along with myriad other cyber threats such as phishing scams, targeted malware, or a combination of both. “The vast majority of attacks are delivered straight to users’ inboxes, even after existing e-mail solutions have attempted to filter risky traffic,” says Doros Hadjizenonos, regional sales director at Fortinet.

FortiGuard Labs found that one in 3 000 messages still contains malware, including ransomware, and one in 4 000 contains previously unknown malware. As the average employee receives 121 e-mails per day, this means an organisation with 100 employees will need to address four e-mails infected with malware, three infected with previously unknown malware, and two e-mails containing suspicious URL links every single day.

“This is why enterprise must extend beyond only the rigid, signature-based approaches for protection used by most e-mail security solutions, and incorporate sandbox technologies for e-mail scanning,” says Hadjizenonos.

Cyber risk is compounded by the sudden move to remote working and online learning at scale, FortiGuard Labs threat research teams say. Organisations need to provide remote users with more than just a secure connection back to the core network or data centre resources – they must also connect to an increasing number of applications now being hosted in the cloud. This heightens the need for high-speed VPN connectivity to increase secure remote worker capacity, with a consistent security posture across data locations globally, whether to cloud or on-premises data centres. Fortinet recommends solutions such as network segmentation and zero-trust network access to bolster remote worker security, integrated through the Fortinet Security Fabric to securely support the remote workforce at scale.

The Fortinet Security Fabric cyber security platform supports the teleworker scenario regardless of the remote access methodology, enabling single-pane-of-glass visibility, configuration and monitoring. A number of Fabric Connectors – the ability to integrate into external solutions – an open API environment, DevOps community support, and an extended Security Fabric ecosystem enables integration with over 250 third-party solutions as well.

Fortinet will update EMEA IT decision-makers on the new cyber risks facing a remote workforce, and ways to mitigate them, in a free on-demand webinar for enterprises. The webinar, featuring Fortiguard Labs analysts, will outline the changing risk landscape, helping participants understand what tactics are being used to deploy cyber attacks, and what can be done to prevent them.

To register for Fortinet’s free on-demand webinar: 'How the Threat Landscape Has Changed with COVID-19', please click here:


Fortinet understands that business performance largely depends on user productivity and access to content and applications, at any location, at any time. With remote access and the ability to provide direct cloud access using Secure SD-WAN as a core capability, the Fortinet Security Fabricprovides secure, flexible options for mobile and fixed access to cloud resources at massive scale.

The Fortinet Security Fabric provides a consistent security posture across physical, virtual and cloud-based environments. Key elements of the Fortinet Security Fabric are available for all major cloud provider platforms, helping organizations address the emerging needs for connectivity and application security without adding operational complexity or requiring any capital expenditure – whether this is temporarily or a long-term approach.

Learn more about how to maintain business continuity and mitigate risk using Fortinet Teleworker Solutions.

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