Updated: Oct 31, 2022
A new report from Check Point Research reveals that cyber attacks are on the rise - an average of 925 attacks a week in December alone. The report attributes much of the increase to the vulnerability known as Log4Shell. The vulnerability has contributed to a staggering increase in cyber attacks, nearly one-in-sixteen organizations had been affected by a ransomware attack.
The threat of ransomware attacks is rising, with the FBI reporting that the number of such attacks increased by more than 50 percent between 2019 and 2020. This growth can be traced to the growing popularity of cryptocurrency. Earlier this year, Bitcoin hit a record high of more than eight hundred percent, and as a result, cybercriminals are taking notice.
In a recent report, IBM revealed that ransomware attacks have tripled since 2016. By the end of last year, one out of every 61 organizations had been hit with a ransomware attack. This increased the need for effective cybersecurity measures. According to the report, ransomware attacks are likely to continue to grow at an alarming rate.
The threat of ransomware continues to spread, and in fact, some of the largest cyberattacks have targeted U.S. critical infrastructure. The Colonial Pipeline was affected in May, and was forced to pay a ransom in Bitcoin to hackers to restore its service. The company then worked with the FBI to recover nearly $3 million of the $4.4 million it paid in ransom. This incident made ransomware attacks a household name in the United States. In response, the Department of Homeland Security released cybersecurity regulations for the pipeline industry.
A recent report by Check Point Research indicates that targeted attacks are on the rise. In the first half of this year, companies were subject to 50 percent more cyber attacks than they were at the same time last year. Cyber attacks were targeted at industries and regions around the world. The biggest increase was seen in the education/research and government/military sectors.
Hackers targeted Southeast Asian governments in December 2021 with custom malware linked to Chinese state-sponsored groups. Many of these nations are embroiled in disputes with China over their territorial claims in the South China Sea. Another high-profile incident involved the hack of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Twitter account, allowing hackers to Tweet about legal tender in India and a fraudulent link to a Bitcoin giveaway. Additionally, a report in Bloomberg linked an intrusion into Australia's telecommunications system to malicious code embedded in a Huawei software update.
Recent high-profile cyber-attacks have revealed a worrying trend. Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting software and technology supply chains to gain access to sensitive data. Similarly, a study conducted by ThoughtLab found that 82 percent of companies are vulnerable to cyber attacks. In addition, the study found that most organizations are under-funded and aren't adequately protecting their critical systems.
According to a report by IBM, human error is a major cause of security incidents. Not only does it result in hacking attempts, it can also result in the theft of credentials. Organisations need to take action to mitigate the risks associated with human error. The first step is to change work practices and routines. Another key step is implementing privilege control, which limits access to data and functionality.
As a result of human error, 94 percent of organizations suffered from an insider data breach in the past year. In a recent survey, 84 percent of IT leaders surveyed said that human error was the number one concern. Another 21 percent said that this was the most common reason for data breaches.
Another way to reduce the risk of a cyber attack is to train employees about cybersecurity. More than half of CISOs surveyed globally said that enhancing employee cybersecurity awareness is a top priority. And more than half of mid-sized organizations expect to increase their cybersecurity training efforts in the next year.