IT disaster recovery, cloud computing and information security news

Acronis has released its 2020 Acronis Cyberthreats Report, an in-depth review of the current threat landscape and projections for the coming year. Based on the protection and security challenges that were amplified by the shift to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, Acronis warns that 2021 will bring aggressive cybercrime activity as criminals pivot their attacks from data encryption to data exfiltration.

Ransomware continues to be the leading threat, with Maze ransomware accounting for nearly half of all known cases in 2020. Yet the Acronis Cyberthreats Report points to a growing trend of cybercriminals trying to maximise their financial gain. Not content to collect ransoms to decrypt infected data, they steal proprietary – and sometimes embarrassing – data before encrypting it. They then threaten to publicly release the stolen files if the victim doesn’t pay up.

Acronis reports that more than 1,000 companies had their data leaked following a ransomware attack in 2020 – a trend that is expected to accelerate in the coming year, overtaking encryption as the criminals’ primary tactic.

Other key findings in the Cyberthreats Report include:

  • Attacks against remote workers will increase. While 31 percent of global companies reported daily cyber attacks in 2020, the frequency of attacks targeting their remote workers is projected to increase in 2021, since the defences / defenses for systems outside of the corporate network are more easily compromised, giving bad actors access to that organization’s data.
  • Ransomware will look for new victims, become more automated. Rather than continuing to cast a wide net, ransomware attackers will focus on targets that provide a bigger return on their efforts. Breaking into one network to steal data from several companies is more profitable than attacking individual organizations. So, while small businesses will still be targeted, cloud environments and organizations like managed service providers will become more valued targets because their systems can provide access to the data of multiple clients.
  • Legacy solutions struggle to keep up. Blocking the new malware has rendered traditional antimalware solutions obsolete, as they cannot keep pace with the increased sophistication and frequency of new threats. The average lifespan of a malware sample in 2020 was just 3.4 days. As attackers continue to enhance automation use, the number of malware samples will continue to climb. Organizations will need to find new approaches to protection that are agile and designed to stay ahead of new threats. Simple standalone security and backup solutions will no longer be enough.

Read the report (PDF).


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