2019: The year in cyber attacks

Cyber attack

Check Point Research has released its 2020 Cyber Security Report, looking at the key malware and cyber-attack trends during 2019.

Even though cryptomining declined during 2019, linked to cryptocurrencies' fall in value and the closure of the Coinhive operation in March, 38 percent of companies globally were impacted by crypto-miners in 2019, up from 37 percent the previous year. Crypto-miners remain a low-risk, high-reward activity for criminals.

Botnets continue to be a problem too. 28 percent of organizations globally were hit by botnet activity, an increase of over 50 percent compared with 2018. Emotet was the most common bot malware used, primarily because of its versatility in enabling malware and spam distribution services. Other botnet actions such as sextortion email activity and DDoS attacks rose sharply in 2019 too.

Ransomware impacted relatively few organizations in 2019, but the report shows attacks are becoming more targeted with criminals aiming to extract maximum reward for their efforts.

Mobile attacks have declined too, with 27 percent of organizations worldwide impacted by cyberattacks that involved mobile devices in 2019, down from 33 percent in 2018.

"2019 presented a complex threat landscape where nation states, cybercrime organizations and private contractors accelerated the cyber arms race, elevating each other's capabilities at an alarming pace, and this will continue into 2020," says Lotem Finkelsteen, major intelligence officer at Check Point Software Technologies. "Even if an organization is equipped with the most comprehensive, state-of-the-art security products, the risk of being breached cannot be completely eliminated. Beyond detection and remediation, organizations need to adopt a proactive plan to stay ahead of cybercriminals and prevent attacks. Detecting and automatically blocking the attack at an early stage can prevent damage. Check Point's 2020 Security Report shares what organizations need to look out for, and how they can win the war against cyber-attacks through key best practices."

The full report is available from the Check Point blog.

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