COVID-19-Related Emails Remain Prevalent in Phishing Campaigns


Coronavirus-related email subjects continue to dominate phishing campaigns, remaining the primary threat, with more than half of phishing emails containing some information related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phishing campaigns represent a primary attack vector for cybercriminals looking tosteal personal information or infect devices with malware. The pandemic proved to be a gold mine for these criminals, as people’s thirst for information regarding this subject increases from one day to the next.

“Covering the entire third quarter, simulated phishing tests with a message related to the coronavirus were the most popular, with a total of 50%,” states the report. “Social media messages are another area of concern when it comes to phishing, and LinkedIn phishing messages dominate as the top social media email subject to watch out for, holding the number one spot at 47%.”

Of course, remote working also offers fertile ground for phishing campaigns, as people relax too much at home and don’t watch out for emails that mimic official ones from colleagues or the IT department.

The KnowBe4 gathered a top 10 of email subjects, and it’s clear that many of them are actually directed at employees and not regular users:

  • Microsoft: View your Microsoft 365 Business Basic invoice
  • HR: Pandemic Policy Update
  • IT: Remote Access Infrastructure
  • Facebook: Account Warning
  • Check your passport expiration date
  • TeleMed Appointment Reminder
  • Twitter: Confirm your identity
  • Apple: Take part in our iPhone 12 trial and enter for the chance to win a FREE iPhone12
  • Exchange ActiveSync service disabled for [[email]]
  • HR: Benefit Report

Of course, people working from home should always be cautious when opening emails seemingly coming from inside the company. If an email looks suspicious, report it immediately to the IT department so other people won’t make the mistake of opening it, if it proves to be fake.