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What Were The Most Common Phishing Emails of 2020?

Parker Byrd

One of the most common ways that hackers are attacking businesses nowadays is via phishing emails. These look just like regular emails, but they contain either a link to a hacked website that steals personal/company data or they have a compromised attachment filled with viruses. It’s more important than ever to understand what phishing attacks are happening right now, since it will make it easier than ever to prevent any problems. 

With that in mind, there were quite a lot of specific phishing attacks taking place in 2020. Some of them were very common, like the ones that you will notice below. With that in mind, it’s important to keep in mind how these phishing attacks are taking place so you can avoid them in the long run.

Covid-19 related phishing emails

During the pandemic, there were a lot of phishing emails related specifically to the pandemic. The scam was coming from websites that mimicked the WHO or government and required people to either access their funds or share their personal information. Obviously these were a massive scam, and you had to be extremely careful. It’s easy to see that scammers don’t care about anything, be it a pandemic or not, and they will use any topic or means to access precious data from victims.

Stimulus check/small business loan phishing

Since the US administration provided a stimulus check and small business loans to help companies go through the pandemic a lot easier, hackers saw this as a great opportunity to scam people. Criminals were contacting people and asked them to offer personal info so they can receive benefit payments. Other hackers were using phishing emails to ask for personal info so people would get approval for relief loans. Obviously these were a massive scam, and no one should reply to any message like that.


Because a lot of people were using the computer more in 2020, there were a lot of ransomware scams coming back. Around 62.4% of organizations were affected by ransomware in 2020 and the losses increased to $20 billion in total. MSPs were the ones that were hit the most during the entire year.

Emotet malware

This type of malware was very common in many phishing emails during the mid-year in 2020, and it also came back aggressively towards the end of the year. With that in mind, this malware was focused on thread hijacking and it mostly came through malicious Word documents and phishing emails. 


Vishing, also known as voice phishing, started to become more and more relevant in 2020. It uses social engineering and VoIP services in order to fake caller IDs and pretend to be other people so they can access crucial, sensitive data. And it all came via email at first, since it shared the phone number where scammers would eventually get in touch with you. 

As you can see, there were a lot of phishing attacks that were common during 2020. It’s very important to use security awareness training to educate your employees and ensure that you avoid any possible problems. At the end of the day, phishing attacks can be very dangerous, and they can have lasting negative effects on your business. Which is why understanding the most common phishing attacks and how they work is crucial for your business!

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