Data gathered and analyzed by Atlas VPN, indicated that, the number of phishing websites spiked by 350 per cent in March 2020.
Back in January, Google registered a total of 149,195 active phishing websites. In February, the number increased by 50%, being 293,235 of phishing websites registered.
Comparing March to January, the number of phishing websites spiked by 350%, hitting a number of 522,495 in total. Findings also show that in March, websites containing coronavirus-related keywords already reached 316,523 cases.
As data shows, the number of registered phishing sites has been snowballing over the last three months. Interestingly, the beginning of an increase in phishing sites correlates to the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Rachel Welsh, COO of Atlas VPN, shares her thoughts on why the number of phishing sites sky-rocketed during the COVID-19 outbreak:
“I believe that hackers identified coronavirus as something users are desperate to find information on. Panic leads to irrational thinking and people forget the basics of cybersecurity. Users then download malicious files or try to purchase in-demand items from unsafe websites, in result becoming victims of scams. ”
Additionally, the number of suspicious websites, containing COVID-19 related keywords peaked on March 21, hitting over 67 thousand with a total of 316,523 coronavirus-related phishing websites registered in March 2020.