Cyber arms race at a tipping point in the year 2020

cyber arms race

Singapore: The pandemic year 2020 led to a new remote working norm that brought new changes and challenges for organisations but also triggered the cyber arms race.

According to the 2021 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, the pandemic’s work-from-home reality resulted in an unprecedented change for organisations. They fought to defend exponentially greater attack surfaces from cyber criminals armed with powerful cloud-based tools, storage and endless targets.

With the new working scenario, the methods of threat actors and other motivate perpetrators also evolved, reveals the report findings.

  • Ransomware soars with a 62% increase since 2019
  • Office files preferred by cybercriminals, surpass PDFs, roughly 1 in 4 malicious
  • Never-before-seen malware variants up 74% year-over-year
  • Cryptojacking shows a three-year high with a 28% year-over-year increase
  • IoT malware rises 66% as criminals continue to leverage COVID-19 pandemic
  • Retail, healthcare and government face mounting ransomware volume

“2020 offered a perfect storm for cybercriminals and a critical tipping point for the cyber arms race,” said SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner.

“The pandemic along with remote work, a charged political climate, record prices of cryptocurrency, and threat actors weaponizing cloud storage and tools — drove the effectiveness and volume of cyberattacks to new highs,” pointed out Conner.

“This latest threat intelligence offers a look at how cybercriminals shifted and refined their tactics, painting a picture of what they are doing amid the uncertain future that lies ahead,” commented Conner.

The report highlights how COVID-19 provided threat actors with ample opportunity for more powerful, aggressive and numerous attacks. Taking advantage of the fear and uncertainty of remote and mobile workforces, these threat actors entered home networks to penetrate deep into corporate networks.

“There is no code of conduct when it comes to cybercriminals, their methods of attacks and the selection of their targets,” said Conner.

Cyber arms race
“Technology is moving at an unprecedented rate. 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 cyber criminals armed with the same devastating force and impact of a nation-state or larger criminal enterprise,” explained Conner.

“Organisations must remain vigilant and proactive in hardening their cybersecurity posture,” cautioned Conner.

“As more organisations are adapting to digital transformation. It is imperative to have strategies in place to plan mitigation, build resilience and respond to anomalies,” said Debasish Mukherjee, VP – Regional Sales on the significance of security strategies.

The report gathered data from over 1.1 million sensors strategically placed in over 215 countries and territories around the world as well as cross-vector, threat-related information shared among SonicWall security systems.

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