Ransomware Attacks Are Rising At An Unprecedented Rate So Please Patch Your PC

ransomware attacks rising patch pc news
A number of cybersecurity experts and teams have recently released reports going over cybersecurity data from 2021 and detailing the growing ransomware threat. We covered a report revealing which industries and countries were hit the most by ransomware, as well as a report that ransomware attacks doubled in 2021.

The ransomware threat is clearly rising at an alarming rate, and a new report by SonicWall fleshes out the picture further. 2020 alone saw 304 million ransomware attacks. As if that wasn’t enough, the doubling of ransomware attacks in 2021 over 2020 amounts to a total of 623 million ransomware attacks globally in 2021. Together, these two years represent a 232% rise in volume of ransomware attacks since 2019.

The report highlights the impacts of ransomware attacks on businesses, state and federal governments, schools, hospitals, and individuals. The government, healthcare, education, and retail sectors in particular were subject to large increases in ransomware attack volume of +1,885%, 755%, 152%, and 21% respectively. The report also makes note of the attacks on supply chains, which caused “widespread system downtime, economic loss and reputational damage.” 

ransomware attacks rising patch pc security news
Interestingly, malware volume was down in 2021 for the third straight year, marking a seven year low. However, it appears that malware volume may increase in 2022 if recent trends continue. SonicWall recorded a 22% drop in malware volume in the first half of 2021, but a significant increase in malware volume in the second half of the year brought the total decrease in 2021 to just 4%.

Meanwhile, Internet-of-Things (IoT) malware volume rose in 2021, but the report notes that this volume may be leveling off. While malware attacks totaled 60.1 million in 2021, which is a 6% rise in volume over the year before, 2020 and 2019 saw significantly larger rises over their years prior of 66% and 218% respectively.

SonicWall also identified 65% more never-before-seen malware variants in 2021, totaling 442,151 new variants. However, while this rise in new malware is alarming, the report also notes that 80% of the top 10 exploited vulnerabilities in 2020 were from previous years. All 10 of these vulnerabilities also have patches.

As the report states, “The number of entirely preventable exploits once again highlights the need for more timely and widespread patching.” The lesson is to stay on top of updates in order to help prevent further ransomware attacks and having your data held hostage by threat actors.

You can read SonicWall’s full cyber threat report for more startling stats.