Ransomware attacks eclipse 2020 global total in six months

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In the first half of 2021, ransomware attacks skyrocketed, eclipsing the entire volume for 2020 (304.6 million) in only six months, according to the mid-year update in the 2021 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report. In a new paradigm for cybercrime, SonicWall is analysing how threat actors are using any means possible to further their malicious intents.

With high-profile attacks against established technology and infrastructure, ransomware is now more prevalent than ever. Through the first half of 2021, SonicWall recorded global ransomware volume of 304.7 million, a 151% year-to-date increase.

“In a year driven by anxiety and uncertainty, cybercriminals have continued to accelerate attacks against innocent people and vulnerable institutions,” said SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner. “This latest data shows that sophisticated threat actors are tirelessly adapting their tactics and embracing ransomware to reap financial gain and sow discord.

“With remote working still widespread, businesses continue to be highly exposed to risk and criminals are acutely aware of uncertainty across the cyber landscape. It’s crucial that organisations move toward a modern Boundless Cybersecurity approach to protect against both known and unknown threats, particularly when everyone is more remote, more mobile and less secure than ever.”

Ransomware running rampant

After posting record highs in both April and May, SonicWall recorded another new high of 78.4 million ransomware attacks in June 2021 alone. Ransomware volume showed massive year-to-date spikes in the U.S. (185%) and the U.K. (144%). Accounting for 64% of all recorded ransomware attacks, Ryuk, Cerber and SamSam were the top three ransomware families in the first half of the year, as recorded by SonicWall Capture Labs.

In line with spikes in global data, SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers also recorded alarming ransomware spikes across key verticals, including government (917%), education (615%), healthcare (594%) and retail (264%) organisations.

Patented RTDMI finding

In the fight against known and unknown threats, SonicWall’s patented Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI) identified record numbers of never-before-seen malware, posting a 54% year-to-date increase over the first half of 2020.

RTDMI technology blocks more advanced and unknown malware compared to traditional behaviour-based sandboxing methods and with a lower false-positive rate.

To download the full mid-year update of the 2021 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, please visit www.sonicwall.com/threatreport.

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