Ransomware up 62 percent since 2019

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Cybercriminals are using more sophisticated ransomware tactics and more dangerous variants, like Ryuk, to earn an easy payday. This has seen a 62 percent increase globally and a 158 percent spike in North America since 2019.

The latest Cyber Threat Report from SonicWall highlights how COVID-19 has provided threat actors with opportunities for more powerful, aggressive and numerous attacks, thriving on the fear and uncertainty of remote and mobile work forces navigating corporate networks from home.

"2020 offered a perfect storm for cybercriminals and a critical tipping point for the cyber arms race," says SonicWall's president and CEO Bill Conner. "The pandemic -- along with remote work, a charged political climate, record prices of cryptocurrency, and threat actors weaponizing cloud storage and tools -- drove the effectiveness and volume of cyberattacks to new highs. This latest threat intelligence offers a look at how cybercriminals shifted and refined their tactics, painting a picture of what they are doing amid the uncertain future that lies ahead."

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Sonicwall has discovered 268,362 'never-before-seen' malware variants in 2020, a 74 percent year-on-year increase and one which echoes HP's findings reported earlier today about a rise in unknown threats.

The shift to home working has also seen a 67 percent increase in malicious Office files in 2020, while malicious PDFs dropped 22 percent. Cryptojacking has made a comeback too with a 28 percent increase.

"There is no code of conduct when it comes to cybercriminals, their methods of attacks and the selection of their targets," adds Conner. "Technology is moving at an unprecedented rate. Threats that were once thought to be two or three years away are now a reality, with do-it-yourself, cloud-based tools creating an army of cybercriminals armed with the same devastating force and impact of a nation-state or larger criminal enterprise. Organizations must remain vigilant and proactive in hardening their cybersecurity posture."

The full report is available from the Sonicwall site.

Photo credit: Ton Snoei / Shutterstock

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