The pandemic’s work-from-home reality resulted in an unprecedented change for organizations as they fought to defend exponentially greater attack surfaces from cybercriminals armed with powerful cloud-based tools, cloud storage and endless targets.
As working environments evolved, so did the methods of threat actors and other motivated perpetrators, as detailed in the latest 2021 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report.
The report says a 62% increase in ransomware globally points to cybercriminals using more sophisticated tactics and more dangerous variants, like Ryuk, to earn an easy payday. First identified in August 2018, Ryuk eventually overtook top-ranking Cerber ransomware. With 109.9 million cases detected worldwide, Ryuk was logged nearly every eight seconds in September alone.
SonicWall’s newly patented Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI), a component of the company’s Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) sandbox service, discovered 268,362 ‘never-before-seen’ malware variants in 2020, a 74% year-over-year increase. RTDMI is proven to proactively detect and block unknown mass-market malware, including malicious Office, and PDF file types.
SonicWall research shows the shift to employees working from home full-time could be directly linked to the increased utilization of Office files and PDFs as malicious vehicles armed with phishing URLs, embedded malicious files and other dangerous exploits. New SonicWall data indicates a 67% increase in malicious Office files in 2020, while malicious PDFs dropped 22%.
Cryptojacking is back thanks to rising cryptocurrency values and its appeal of concealed payouts, says the report. Total cryptojacking for 2020 set records with 81.9 million hits, a 28% increase from last year’s 64.1 million total.
“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,” says SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner.
“Organizations must remain vigilant and proactive in hardening their cybersecurity posture.”