How pervasive is ransomware? Consider this: While digital hijackings declined by 23% worldwide, the mid-year 2022 volume still exceeds full year totals for 2017, 2018 and 2019, according to SonicWall's 2022 Cyber Threat Report.
The volume was driven downward by government sanctions, supply chain issues, tumbling crypto prices and limited availability of needed infrastructure. June 2022 saw the lowest monthly ransomware volume in two years, which helped suppress overall global volume. Still, in contrast to the ransomware totals for the year to date, Europe saw a 63% increase in the number of attacks, SonicWall said, as part of an overall geographical shift owing in part to geopolitics.
Seven of the top 11 countries targeted by ransomware were in Europe, namely the U.K., Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Ukraine.
Research Results Show Malware Attacks Increasing
Here are some top level highlights of the research:
- 2.8 billion malware attacks (+11%) recorded in the first half of 2022, first escalation of global malware volume in more than three years.
- Financial sector saw cyberattacks climb drastically: malware up 100%, a 243% spike in ransomware, and a 269% increase in cryptojacking attempts.
- 45% increase in ‘never-before-seen’ malware variants, up 21x since SonicWall began tracking in 2018.
- Where ransomware volume slid, malware showed substantial growth to an 11% increase, a 77% spike in Internet of Things (IoT) malware and a 132% rise in encrypted threats.
- In North America, encrypted threats were up 284% and IoT malware spiked 228% within that same time frame.
- The financial sector combatted a 100% increase in malware attacks, a 243% hike in ransomware attempts and a staggering 269% in cryptojacking attempts.
The Link Between Cybersecurity and Geopolitics
Bill Conner, SonicWall president and chief executive, put the issue into perspective:
“In the cyber arms race, cybersecurity and geopolitics have always been inseparably linked, and in the last six months we have seen that play out across the cyber landscape,” said “As bad actors diversify their tactics, and look to expand their attack vectors, we expect global ransomware volume to climb not only in the next six months, but in the years to come. With so much turmoil in the geopolitical landscape, cybercrime is increasingly becoming more sophisticated and varying in the threats, tools, targets and locations.”