More than 300 million ransomware attacks in the first half of 2021

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There was a 185% increase in ransomware attacks in the US and 144% in the UK. Other targets include Germany, South Africa, and Brazil.

What is happening?

According to a report by SonicWall, there were 304.7 million ransomware attacks in the first half of 2021. They observed a surge in attempted attacks in April and May, but it was in June that it got really bad with 78.4 million attacks.

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • For the first time since 2018, a drop is recorded in the number of malicious PDF and Office files being dropped
  • IoT thing related malware attacks saw a 15% increase, with 32 million attacks in the US alone
  • In the first half of 2021, cryptojacking attempts rose 118% in Asia and 248% in Europe at 51.1 million attacks

Compared to 2020’s record of 304.6 million attacks, 2021 surprised everyone. There was a 185% increase in the US and a 144% increase in the UK. Other targets include Germany, South Africa, and Brazil.

In the United States, Florida saw 111.1 million ransomware attempts, New York saw 26.4 million, and Idaho saw 20.5 million, with Rhode Island and Louisiana at 9 million each.

This information was gathered using the SonicWall Capture Threat Network, which employs 1.1 million security sensors in more than 200 countries.

The network uses cross-vector threat information, email security devices, firewalls, honeypots, endpoint security solutions, content filtering systems, and SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection multi-engine sandbox.

This intricate network makes them privy to data from thousands of email security devices and firewalls. It also collects data from threat intelligence reports from industry groups and research organizations.

Who is responsible?

Ransomware groups The Ryuk, Cerber, and SamSam accounted for almost 64% of all attacks. Ryuk singlehandedly made 93.9 million attempts this year.

As per SonicWall, Cerber came in second with 52.5 million attacks in the first half of 2021, showing an increase since April and May. On the other hand, SamSam doubled down on its 2020 numbers and decided to do better with 49.7 million attacks with 15.7 million in June alone.

Malware – Is it just as bad?

In 2020, malware recorded a six-year low with 5.6 billion attempts, while 2021 showed 2.5 billion attempts in the first six months.

In Germany and India, Malware recorded a meteoric rise. India suffered 147.2 million attempts, an 83% increase, while Germany suffered 150.4 million attempts, a 465% increase.

However, it didn’t stop there. For example, Vietnam had a 36.4% chance of being attacked by malware. The company that recorded this also used its Real-Time Deep Memory InspectionTM to discover 185,000 brand-new variants of malware, a 54% increase.