Ransomware attacks increase dramatically during 2021

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The frequency of ransomware attacks has increased dramatically over the past year, with 93% more carried out in the first half of 2021 than the same period last year, according to Check Points mid-year security report.

The surge in attacks has been fuelled by the rise of the “triple extortion” ransomware technique whereby attackers, in addition to stealing sensitive data from organisations and threatening to release it publicly unless a payment is made, are also targeting the organisations customers, vendors or business partners in the same way.

Accompanying the dramatic increase in ransomware attacks, organisations have also experienced a 29% increase in the number of cyber attacks globally, with the highest growth seen in the Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region and the Americas, at 36 and 24% respectively.

While the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region only saw an increase in attacks of 13%, it experienced the highest number of cyber attacks weekly at 1,338. EMEA’s weekly number was 777, while the Americas was at 688 per week.

The report further noted a step up in the number of attacks targeting supply chains during 2021, including the high-profile attack on SolarWinds from December 2020, as well as the attacks on Codecov in April and, most recently, Kaseya in July.

Following the takedown of the Emotet botnet operation, which was fully eliminated in April 2021, the report also noted that a number of other malwares – including Trickbot, Dridex, Qbot and IcedID – are quickly gaining popularity.

“In the first half of 2021, cyber criminals have continued to adapt their working practices to exploit the shift to hybrid working, targeting organisations’ supply chains and network links to partners to achieve maximum disruption,” said Maya Horowitz, vice-president of research at Check Point Software.

“This year, cyber attacks have continued to break records and we have even seen a huge increase in the number of ransomware attacks, with high-profile incidents such as Solarwinds, Colonial Pipeline, JBS or Kayesa. 

“Looking ahead, organisations should be aware of the risks and ensure that they have the appropriate solutions in place to prevent, without…

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