Traditionally a high-investment, high-return targeted attack, WatchGuard predicts that automation tools will replace manual techniques to help cyber criminals launch spear phishing campaigns at record volumes, by harvesting victim-specific data from social media sites and company web pages. And as society continues to grapple with the impact of COVID-19, it is likely that these automated spear phishing attacks will prey on fears around the pandemic, politics and the economy. Conversely, the research team at WatchGuard believes that automation will also help cloud-hosting providers such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google to crack down on cyber criminal groups abusing their reputation and services to launch malicious attacks. Endpoints have become a high priority target for attackers during the global pandemic and many personal computers are still running legacy software that is difficult to patch or update. Cyber criminals always look for the weak links, so the growing ranks of home workers are an obvious target and when it comes to new technologies such as automation and AI, what can work for good, can also be exploited for malicious activity.
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