Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Ransomware Attacks Saw a Huge Spike in 2020

While 2020 was a good year for cybercriminals seeking bigger paydays, it was the worst for those who fell victim to these cyber-attacks. Ransomware attacks witnessed a massive rise in 2020, with most of the incidents happening during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

One Ransomware Attack Every 10 Seconds

According to the 2021 Check Point Cyber Security Report, organizations encounter at least 10,000 malicious files daily. In fact, ransomware attacks became so frequent in 2020 that one incident of ransomware attack happened every 10 seconds, the Check Point report underlined. 

How Check Point Collected the Data

Check Point gathered the statistics and data with its powerful ThreatCloud intelligence network, which provides threat data from a global network of sensors. 

The ThreatCloud database reviews over 3 billion websites and can identify more than 250 million malware activities daily. Alongside their network, the report also contains data from various surveys conducted by information security experts.

Where Does Ransome Rank Among Other Malware

Despite its rise, ransomware is ranked as a relatively lower threat than other types of malware globally, according to the report. 

The most popular types of malware include the following, along with the percentage of incidents for each malware incident that happened in 2020:

  1. Botnet (28%)
  2. Cryptominers (21%) 
  3. Infostealer (16%) 
  4. Mobile (15%) 
  5. Banking malware (14%).
  6. Ransomware (5%)

What Techniques the Attackers Use

The report highlighted the standard techniques that malicious actors use to implement ransomware attacks. 

Remote Desktop Protocols (RDPs) were the most popular attack path for ransomware in the first half of the previous year, with attacks targeting weak or previously breached passwords.

Targeting remote workers through emails also a sharp rise due to the increased popularity of the thread hijacking tool in Emotet and Qbot Trojans. Using this method, hackers infect a victim’s emails with malware and spread the conversation within the victim’s social and professional circle, thus extending the malware to unsuspecting colleagues.

Check Point also underlined the risks of attacks through cloud platforms and mobile devices. The report claims that nearly half of the organizations in question had observed at least one employee downloading a malicious mobile application. And 80% of businesses that fell victim to ransomware had outdated security tools with limited functionality or incongruent with cloud platforms.

Tips to Reduce Ransomware Risks

While ransomware poses a serious threat, there are a few measures you can take to prevent your organization from falling victim to such threats:

  • Instantly install updates and security patches on your systems, software, and IT infrastructure so that cybercriminals cannot infiltrate your organization through a vulnerability present in outdated digital assets and networks.
  • Use two-factor authentication for a more secure login process.
  • Take frequent backups of your important data and test your mechanisms to ensure any lost data can be reinstated if a ransomware attack happens. 

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