Cyberattacks on the U.S. financial sector amid COVID-19 rose 238 percent over the first five months of 2020, VMware/Carbon Black told Congress during a House Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy virtual hearing Tuesday.

Four NGOs brought to the attention of the lawmakers of how attackers are raising the stakes with fraudulent schemes and the need for public and private sector vigilance during testimony for the nearly two-hour session entitled “Cybercriminals and Fraudsters: How Bad Actors Are Exploiting the Financial System During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

In his opening statement, subcommittee Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., cited a 148 percent spike in cyberattacks in March when compared to February, and that the financial sector in that period received a 38 percent increase in ransomware attacks. Cleaver cited cybersecurity complaints to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center quadrupled in the past four months from 1,000 daily before the pandemic to as many as 4,000 incidents in a day.

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