Crowdstrike reports a ‘real uptick in phishing campaigns’ during coronavirus crisis

George Kurtz, co-founder and chief executive officer of Crowdstrike Inc., speaks during the Montgomery Summit in Santa Monica, California.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The coronavirus outbreak has exposed a new pathway for hackers to prey on vulnerable victims, Crowdstrike CEO George Kurtz told CNBC’s Jim Cramer Friday.

“We’ve seen a real uptick in phishing campaigns using COVID-19 and malware associated with that in these emails,” Kurtz said in a “Mad Money” interview. “When there’s chaos and there’s this fear in the street that’s when the adversary tends to strike hardest.”

COVID-19 is the deadly disease caused by the fast-spreading coronavirus.

As workplaces across the country have shutdown and more employees work remotely during the pandemic, a CNBC survey found that more than one in three executives have seen an spike in cyberthreats to their systems. The survey included tech leaders at large companies, along with government and nonprofit organizations. 

Cyber scams was said to have rose 40% at one organization. A phishing scam is one, usually via email, where online criminals try to access sensitive information, i.e. log in and credit card details, by presenting themselves as a trustworthy figure.

“Now is the time, when there’s chaos and there’s fear and people are worried about their family [and] they’re not in the office … [that] they’re going to strike,” Kurtz said. “As these remote users get up and running with their own stacks, whether it’s Zoom or Slack, they’re going to need protection like Crowdstrike, and we’re there for them.”

With communities, the government and corporations adjusting to a new world disrupted by the virus pandemic, Crowdstrike has dropped surge costs as clients lean heavily on remote work services, Kurtz added.

“We’ll deal with that after we get through this crisis,” he said. “We view ourselves as a partner, not just a vendor.”

The comments come one day after Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity company that offers threat intelligence and cyberattack response services, reported a top- and bottom-line beat in its January quarter. Total revenue grew 89% year-over-year to $152 million, powered by 99% growth in its subscription revenue, which came in at $436 million.

Quarterly losses came in at 2 cents per share, better than the 8 cents loss Wall Street analysts expected, according to FactSet.

Cybersecurity is a “basic need in the hierarchy of what corporations need. It’s like shelter,” Kurtz said. “When you have a cloud-based platform like us, we’re solving big problems, stopping breaches, consolidating spend and cost.”

Furthermore, Broadcom’s $10.7 billion acquisition of Symantec has been a plus for Crowdstrike, Kurtz added. Crowdstrike believes it has helped to expand its client base.

“We see a lot of [Symantec’s] install base coming to us looking for a cloud-base platform, next gen[eration] powered by AI and the ability to stop breaches without ever seeing those sort of threats before.”

Crowdstrike shares surged 17% to $49.01 in Friday’s session. 

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