Cyberattacks have surged by 33% since last year, according to the recent Atlas VPN report on the state of cybersecurity which found the total amount of malicious attacks in Q1 went up from 538 in 2020 to 713 in 2021.
In January 2020, there were a total of 160 cyberattacks. Meanwhile, January 2021 saw 183 malicious attacks — 14% more than the same month last year.
In January, one of the most impactful attacks occurred to Facebook as 533 million data records of social media users were leaked online.
Looking at February’s numbers, we can see a tremendous increase in cyberattacks in 2021 compared to 2020. Malicious attacks jumped by 33% from 191 in 2020 to 254 in 2021.
Even though February is the shortest month, it did not stop hackers from various threats. Throughout this month, a total of 3.4 billion personal records were leaked.
In March 2021, cyberattacks grew more than 50% compared to March 2020. The total number of attacks went up from 187 to 276.
Atlas VPN researcher William Sword says, “A significant increase in cyberattacks has shown that many companies or government administrations are not prepared to handle cybersecurity threats. With more and more people becoming victims of hackers, responsible institutions should step up their efforts in the cybersecurity field.”
Most used cyberattack techniques
Cybercriminals employ various techniques to penetrate vulnerable systems.
Malware continues to be one of the most used techniques for cyberattacks. In Q1 2021 it was employed in 32% of all cyberattack cases. Hackers use malware to trick a victim into providing personal data for identity theft.
Unknown attacks were the second most-used in the first quarter of this year at 22%. The unknown threat is classified as such when a security product cannot recognize its code, which is why it is tough to stop such attacks.
Next up is account takeover (ATO). This type of cyberattack technique was used in 14% of all cyberattacks in Q1 2021.