Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Margaret McCoey




Phishing is a cybercrime that involves a hacker identifying as a real person or institution that targets people over text message, phone calls, and emails. The hacker tries to scam the target into giving up personal information. People are targeted through text messages, phone calls, and emails. More recently in 2020 when covid became a major issue, phishing started becoming more and more popular for ways to scam. The messages became more specific, and job sites became more believable. According to article “Phishing Attacks Soar 220% During COVID-19 Peak as Cybercriminal Opportunism Intensifies”, David Warburton says:

COVID-19 continues to significantly embolden cybercriminals’ phishing and fraud efforts, according to new research from F5 Labs. The fourth edition of the Phishing and Fraud Report stated that phishing incidents rose 220% during the height of the global pandemic compared to the yearly average. Based on data from F5’s Security Operations Center (SOC), the number of phishing incidents in 2020 is now set to increase 15% year-on-year, though this could soon change as additional waves of the pandemic spread. The three primary objectives for COVID-related phishing emails were identified as fraudulent donations to fake charities, credential harvesting, and malware delivery. (Para. 1).

During Covid, pretty much everyone worked from home or spent a lot of time online. Hackers understood that they could use covid to their advantage when making up lies on how to convince people to hand over personal information, and how to get the user to send money without knowing it is a scam until after the damage happened. Due to people working from home, there was no real monitoring of employees to make sure nothing was done to put the security of the company in danger, especially when it was also connected to personal Wi-Fi.