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FortiGuard Labs Research: Ransomware Activity Climbs 10X YoY


There was a "significant increase" in the volume and sophistications of ransomware attacks in the first half of 2021 in comparison to the same time frame one year earlier, according to the "Global Threat Landscape Report" from FortiGuard Labs.

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • Ransomware activity is increasing. FortiGuard found there was "a consistent and steady increase" in ransomware attacks, with a 10x rise in ransomware activity between June 2020 and June 2021.
  • Hackers are attacking a wide range of organizations. Cybercriminals most frequently used ransomware to attack telecommunications organizations. In addition, MSSPs, government agencies, automakers and manufacturers were among the most prominent ransomware attack victims.
  • Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) is fueling cybercrime. Hackers are increasingly using RaaS in lieu of email-initiated payloads to gain and sell access to corporate networks.
  • Organizations are prone to malvertising and scareware attacks. More than one in four organizations detected malvertising or scareware attempts in the first six months of 2021.
  • Cybercriminals are leveraging botnets. Detected botnet activity rose from 35 percent in January 2021 to 51 percent in June 2021.

Government and law enforcement agencies are working with industry vendors, threat intelligence organizations and other global organizations to combat cybercrime, FortiGuard noted. Together, these organizations are leveraging consolidated cybersecurity resources and real-time threat intelligence to determine how to identify and address cyberattacks faster and more efficiently than ever before.

Along with FortiGuard's report, cyber insurance company Coalition found that ransomware groups demanded three times the payoff amount from their victims in the first half of 2021 than they did one year earlier.

The average ransom demand made to Coalition's policyholders in the first half of 2021 totaled $1.2 million per claim, the company reported. Furthermore, the average amount that cybercriminals stole during ransomware attacks was $326,264.

What Are the Best Ways to Guard Against Ransomware Attacks?

Automated cyber threat detection and artificial intelligence are "essential" to help organizations guard against ransomware and other types of cyberattacks, FortiGuard stated. These technologies empower organizations to address cyberattacks in real time and mitigate them across all edges.

Cybersecurity awareness training also is important for global organizations and their employees, FortiGuard said. Organizations can provide this training to their employees and keep them up to date on best practices to protect against cyberattacks.

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.