Last year saw a double-digit surge in ransomware, IoT threats, new malware and cryptojacking, in what SonicWall has described as a “tipping point” in the cyber-arms race.
The security vendor’s 2021 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report is compiled from data taken from over one million global sensors and cross-vector threat information shared among SonicWall security systems.
Ransomware threats spiked 62% globally and 158% in North America as more sophisticated variants like Ryuk targeted larger organizations with multi-staged attacks. The retail (365%), healthcare (123%) and government (21%) sectors were particularly badly hit during the pandemic.
Elsewhere, there were nearly 82 million cryptojacking detections, a 28% increase from 2019 figures, driven by the rising value of digital currency.
IoT malware detections surged 66% as attackers targeted home networks and remote workers, and overall there was a 74% increase in previously undetected malware variants.
The shift to remote work may also be behind the 67% increase in malicious Office files, which overtook malicious PDFs to claim top spot.
SonicWall CEO, Bill Conner, argued that organizations must remain “vigilant and proactive” in improving their cybersecurity posture.
“There is no code of conduct when it comes to cyber-criminals, their methods of attacks and the selection of their targets,” he added. “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 cyber-criminals armed with the same devastating force and impact of a nation state or larger criminal enterprise.”
Intrusion attempts also evolved due to the unique circumstances that unfolded last year thanks to the pandemic. In 2020, directory traversal tactics (34%) took the top spot after tying with remote code execution (21%) in 2019, the report claimed.