Yikes! Ransomware Attacks Up 151% So Far This Year

In the first six months of 2021, education saw a 615% spike in ransomware incidents, while healthcare experienced a 594% increase.

Yikes! Ransomware Attacks Up 151% So Far This Year

Photo via Adobe, by Negro Elkha

Ransomware and other cyberattacks have been front and center in news cycles of late, but is the issue just getting more attention, thus the renewed emphasis on stopping it?

That answer is an emphatic “no,” according to SonicWall, which says in a new report that ransomware attacks skyrocketed in the first half of 2021, surpassing the entire volume for 2020 in just six months.

According to SonicWall’s 2021 Cyber Threat Report, there have been a total of 304.7 million global ransomware attacks, which is already more than the 304.6 million total from last year. That’s good enough for an increase of 151%.

April, May and June experienced record highs, including 789.4 million in June alone.

“The continued rise of ransomware, cryptojacking and other unique forms of malware targeted at monetization, along with their evolution of tactics, are evidence that cybercriminal activity always follows the money and rapidly adapts to new opportunities and changing environments,” said SonicWall Vice President of Platform Architecture Dmitriy Ayrapetov.

The U.S. in particular saw a heavy increase in ransomware volume, a spike of 185%. The country was the most targeted, followed by the U.K., Germany, South Africa and Brazil.

Florida was the most targeted state with 111.1 million ransomware attacks, more than four times as many as the next state, New York, with 26.4 million attacks. Idaho, (20.5 million), Louisiana (8.8 million) and Rhode Island (8.8 million) followed.

Several sectors also saw massive spikes in ransomware volume, with government (917%), education (615%), healthcare (594%) and retail (264%).

The report also found that new malware variants are being discovered, and IoT devices remain vulnerable to compromise.

In a statement, SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner said cybercriminals are accelerating attacks and embracing ransomware to sow discord, profit and capitalize on the continued emphasis on remote work.

“It’s crucial that organizations move toward a modern Boundless Cybersecurity approach to protect against both known and unknown threats, particularly when everyone is more remote, more mobile and less secure than ever,” he said.

This article originally ran in CS sister publication MyTechDecisions.com and has been edited. Zachary Comeau is TD’s web editor.

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