SonicWall’s 2019 Cyber Threat Report shows a there has been a 20% fall in malware attacks in the first half of 2019, but there have been increases in IoT malware, ransomware, cryptojacking, and encrypted threats.
Globally, ransomware attacks have increased by 15% in the first 6 months of 2019, with the United Kingdom being increasingly targeted. Ransomware attacks in the UK are up 195% in 2019. The rise in attacks is largely due to the growth of ransomware-as-a-service, which opens up ransomware attacks to a much broader range of cybercriminals. Cybercriminals are also going to greater lengths to hide their malware. SonicWall data shows there has been a 76% increase in encrypted threats in 2019.
Email is still the most common attack vector for delivering malware, which is most often delivered via malicious Office documents and PDF file attachments. In February and March, 51% and 47% of all never-before-seen attacks involved Microsoft Office and PDF files sent via email.
New malware variants are being released at record pace. SonicWall detected 74,360 previously unknown malware variants in the first half of 2019, highlighting the importance of implementing advanced cybersecurity solutions that are not reliant on signature-based detection methods. “To be effective, companies must harness innovative technology, such as machine learning, to be proactive against constantly-changing attack strategies,” said SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner.
Businesses are adopting IoT technology but are failing to secure their IoT devices and cybercriminals are taking advantage. In the first 6 months of 2019 there has been a 55% increase in IoT malware attacks.
SonicWall’s data shows there has been a fall in attacks against non-standard ports, which are down 13%, but May saw the largest ever recorded spike in these attacks, when a quarter of all malware attacks came across non-standard ports.
SonicWall also notes there has been an increase in cryptojacking attacks, which are up 9% from this time last year. This is due to increasing value of cryptocurrencies such as Monero and Bitcoin which makes cryptocurrency mining more lucrative.