2021 set to be costliest year on record for ransomware attacks

Ransomware threat intelligence firm SonicWall has found 2021 will be the most expensive and dangerous year on record for ransomware attacks, with 495 million attacks logged already.

The company said that it recorded a 148% year-on-year increase in global ransomware attacks during the third quarter of this year, totalling a staggering 190.4 million attacks. This came close to eclipsing the number of ransomware hacks logged during the first three quarters of last year, which came to 195.7 million. June was particularly a bad month for attacks, with 78.4m logged by the ransomware firm.

SonicWall logged 1,748 ransomware attempts per customer during the third quarter, which is the equivalent to 9.7 ransomware attempts per customer each business day. The company predicted that by the end of the year, total ransomware attacks could come to 714 million – a huge 134% year-on-year hike.

The Biden Administration recently hosted a global ransomware summit in order to pledge ‘all national tools’ to stop cyberattacks on critical sectors. SonicWall found that the US was found to have recorded 127% year-to-date increase in ransomware attacks, while the UK saw a whopping 233% surge in numbers.

SonicWall CEO and president Bill Conner said, “As we see it, ransomware is on a nearly unimaginable upward trend, which poses a major risk to businesses, service providers, governments and everyday citizens. The real-world damage caused by these attacks is beyond anecdotal at this point. It’s a serious national and global problem that has already taken a toll on businesses and governments everywhere. I’m hopeful that the recent global ransomware summit is the next step toward a greater response at global, national and state levels.

“While the world has been attempting to return to normal in a stop-and-go fashion, cybercriminals have never let up, driving ransomware campaigns to record numbers through the first three quarters of 2021. These criminal organizations will continue to launch highly sophisticated cyberattacks that are designed to target organizations and business with weak or lax security controls.”

SonicWall VP of platform architecture Dmitriy Ayrapetov added, “The techniques deployed by ransomware actors have evolved well beyond the smash-and-grab attacks from just a few years ago. Today’s cybercriminals demonstrate deliberate reconnaissance, planning and execution to surgically deploy toolchains targeting enterprise and government infrastructure. This results in larger victims and leads to higher ransoms.

“As long as organizations continue to overlook or fail to implement cybersecurity best practices to reduce their attack surface, ransomware groups will only increase investments in time, resources and money for launching campaigns that result in massive payouts.”

A recent report by Allianz found that scammers demanded an average payment of $5.3m from hacking victims during the first six months of 2021, climbing 518% year-on-year.

Copyright © 2021 FinTech Global

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