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The number of malware attacks rose to 2.8 billion in the past six months. Ransomware attacks on European organizations grew while the United States faced less.

SonicWall examined the state of malware between January 2022 and June 2022. The security company used 1.1 million seniors in 215 countries to measure cyberattacks and attempts. The report was recently presented.

The number of malware attacks rose to 2.8 billion worldwide. Ransomware (236 million attacks), cryptojacking (66.7 million attacks) and IoT malware (57 million attacks) were prevalent.

Reuse of ransomware

Attacks on European organizations rose faster than in the United States. In Europe, the total number of malware attacks grew by 23 percent compared to the first half of 2021. In the United States, the number grew by 2 percent.

Ransomware had the same course. American ransomware attacks decreased by 42 percent while European attacks increased by 63 percent. “While the news is good for the US, much of this ransomware didn’t actually disappear — it was simply redistributed”, SonicWall said in the report.

According to SonicWall, ransomware variants pop up in different regions over time. A continent that currently faces a high attack volume is likely to face fewer attacks in a few months. Cybercriminals deploy in a region, abuse as many organizations as possible and move to a new region as soon as the code is known to security teams.

Resultingly, the figures vary from continent to continent, but in general, ransomware grows rapidly. Cryptojacking is on the rise as well. SonicWall saw 66.7 million cryptojacking attacks worldwide, a growth of 30 percent.

From ransomware to cryptojacking

Cryptojackers take over victims’ devices to quietly mine cryptocurrency. According to SonicWall, the growth in cryptojacking has two reasons.

Firstly, the price of several cryptocurrencies dropped in recent months. Cybercriminals need to acquire more crypto to earn the same sum of money. “WWhen the price of coin drops like a rock, it’s still easier to hustle harder than it is to find a new line of work.”

Secondly, SonicWall reasons that ransomware attackers are increasingly turning to cryptojacking. Cryptojacking is a lot safer for cybercriminals than ransomware.

Ransomware attackers have to reveal themselves to make money. The victim only pays a ransom when the victim is aware of an attack. In contrast, cryptojackers generate income by staying under the radar. Victims aren’t supposed to be aware of the hack. It’s a lot easier to avoid police investigations when working in the shadows.

Tip: Ransomware is an APT, so you should treat it as such