SonicWall Cyber Threat Report highlights that ransomware attacks doubled in 2021

Published: Tuesday, 22 February 2022 09:31

SonicWall has released its  2022 Cyber Threat Report. This details a sustained surge in ransomware with 623.3 million attacks globally. Nearly all monitored threats, cyber attacks and malicious digital assaults rose in 2021 including ransomware, encrypted threats, IoT malware, and cryptojacking.

Ransomware attacks increase by 105 percent

SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers diligently tracked the dramatic rise in ransomware, recording an astounding 318.6 million more ransomware attacks than 2020, a 105 percent increase. Ransomware volume has risen 232 percent since 2019.

Following global trends, all industries faced large increases of ransomware volume, including government (+1,885 percent), healthcare (755 percent), education (152 percent) and retail (21 percent).

Malware trends

Malware volume was slightly down again in 2021, marking both a third-straight year of decrease as well as a seven-year low. However, an uptick in attacks during the second half of 2021 almost completely erased the 22 percent drop in malware that SonicWall had recorded at the mid-year point, bringing the total decrease for 2021 to just 4 percent — suggesting malware numbers may rebound in 2022.

Encrypted threats increased 167 percent year-over-year. In August, the number of encrypted attacks broke the 1 million mark for the first time, then continued to rise, reaching nearly 2.5 million by year’s end.

Cryptojacking continued to surge last year, rising 19 percent globally to 97.1 million, which is the most attacks that SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers have ever recorded in a single year.

IoT malware volume rose 6 percent in 2021, totaling 60.1 million hits by year’s end. While this isn’t good news, it’s at least better than it has been: In 2019 and 2020, IoT malware volume rose 218 percent and 66 percent, respectively. With no corresponding slowdown in the proliferation of connected devices, this suggests that attack volumes may be leveling off.

‘Never-before-seen’ malware variants

SonicWall’s patented Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI) technology identified a total of 442,151 never-before-seen malware variants in 2021, a 65 percent year-over-year increase and an average of 1,211 per day. In Q4, RTDMI found more never-before-seen malware variants than in any quarter since its introduction in 2018.

More details.