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SonicWall Cyber Threat Report: 9.3 Billion Malware Attacks in 2017

SonicWall CEO Bill Conner
Related Podcast: SonicWall CEO Bill Conner

Cyberattacks are becoming the top risk to businesses, according to a report based on threat intelligence from global devices and resources across the SonicWall Capture Threat Network.

Key findings from the SonicWall "2018 Cyber Threat Report" included:

  • Approximately 9.3 billion total malware attacks were recorded last year, an 18.4 percent year-over-year increase.
  • Ransomware attacks fell from 638 million to 184 million between 2016 and 2017. Comparatively, ransomware variants rose 101.2 percent year over year.
  • More than 12,500 new common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE) were reported in 2017, and 78 percent were related to network attacks.
  • Microsoft Edge attacks grew 13 percent between 2016 and 2017.
  • On average, SonicWall discovered 60 file-based malware propagation attempts per firewall each day in 2017.

Businesses, consumers and governments are in the crosshairs of a global cyber arms race, SonicWall CEO Bill Conner said in a prepared statement. As such, cybersecurity now outranks many traditional business risks and concerns.

2018 Cybersecurity Predictions

SonicWall provided the following cybersecurity predictions for 2018:

  • Password and information stealers will emerge to take advantage of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities.
  • Cybercriminals will use PDFs and Microsoft Office applications as a new attack vector.
  • Malware attacks will attempt to steal sensitive information from user devices.
  • Ransomware authors will use new techniques designed to bypass device encryption to launch malware attacks.
  • Sophisticated malware that relies on encrypted traffic will be used to try to breach organizations.
  • Advanced Internet of Things (IoT) malware will use automated active attacks to spread easier and faster than ever before.
  • Cybercriminals will use malware to force a victim's device resources to mine currency.
  • Home-based IoT attacks will threaten average citizens' privacy, information and identities.
  • Many consumer IoT devices are being hyper-connected without oversight, and this increases the threat of a botnet based on consumer IoT devices.

Cybercrime advancements require organizations to update their cybersecurity strategies. Otherwise, organizations put their sensitive data, employees and customers in danger.

How to Address a Rapidly Evolving Cyber Threat Landscape

SonicWall offered the following recommendations to help organizations address rapidly evolving cyber threats:

  • Deploy a layered cybersecurity strategy. With a combination of next-generation firewalls, real-time cloud sandboxing, secure mobile access controls and wireless access points, organizations can improve their security posture.
  • Leverage an automated, real-time breach detection and protection platform. Organizations must deploy a breach detection and protection platform that links security, intelligence, analytics, management and reporting.
  • Capitalize on machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). A breach detection and protection platform that uses machine learning and AI helps an organization make real-time decisions against advanced cyberattacks.
  • Prioritize versatility. Organizations should use a breach detection and protection platform that provides them with the power and flexibility to deploy what they want, when they want and where they want to reduce the risk of network vulnerabilities.

Security solutions, appliances and strategies also must be continually optimized or evaluated, SonicWall stated. That way, organizations can ensure that they leverage the proper security tools, services and solutions to protect their brand, data and customers.

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.