Following Pandemic, Ransomware Has Increased 62% Since 2019

Since 2019, we’ve seen working environments evolve faster and more drastically than ever before. The Covid-19 global pandemic was the main culprit, as the work-from-home reality resulted in unprecedented change for organizations. With these changes, we saw threat actors evolve at similar (or faster) rates, with cybercriminals hungry to take advantage of organizations with expanded attack surfaces due to a remote workforce and heavily cloud-based tools. 

As we consider how cyber actors are evolving, it’s important to remember that there are no boundaries or code of ethics. Their only goal is a successful attack. The means to get there know no bounds. With technology evolving at an unprecedented rate, attack tactics also evolve in parallel. 

Let’s take a look at the 2021 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, which details how Covid-19 provided cybercriminals with the needed opportunity for more aggressive, powerful, and numerous attacks. To view the full report, click here. They preyed on the ever-evolving mobile and remote workforces and organizations navigating a brand new work environment with increased and unexpected vulnerabilities. 

Key findings from the 2021 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report: 

  • There has been a 62% increase in ransomware attacks globally since 2019. 
  • Cybercriminals use more sophisticated tactics and more dangerous variants (ex. Ryuk) to cash in.
  • In 2021, more brand new malware variants were identified, referred to as ‘never-before-seen’ variants. The report showed a 74% year-over-year increase.
  • An unprecedented increase in the use of Ryuk ransomware: emerging from nowhere, Ryuk has taken the stage and continues to climb the charts as one of the most dangerous and widely used forms of ransomware (109.9 million cases detected worldwide in 2021).
  • In 2021, the preferred method was malicious Office files for attacks, showing a 67% increase from 2020 (changed from PDFs in 2020). Cybercriminals used Office files most commonly as vehicles to arm phishing URLs, embedded malicious files, and other forms of attack. 
  • Internet of Things (loT) malware increased due to the pandemic, with a 66% increase from 2020.
  • Cryptojacking is back due to rising cryptocurrency values, with a 28% increase in crypto-jacking since 2020.
  • Increase in intrusion “attempts” as cybercriminals adjusted tactics. 
  • The industries with the greatest increase in ransomware attacks were retail (365%), healthcare (123%), and government (21%)

The findings of the cyber threat reports are intended to arm organizations with data to inform their cybersecurity efforts better. Remember, the best cybersecurity plan is a preventative one. If PK Tech can support your business in your IT security efforts, get in touch with our team here