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Cyberattacks increased by 50% in 2021, peaking in December due to Log4J exploits

By Shannon Williams
Wed 12 Jan 2022

Cyberattacks increased by 50% in 2021, peaking in December due to Log4J exploits, according to new research from Check Point Software.
 
Check Point Research (CPR), the threat intelligence arm of the Check Point Software organisation, has revealed new global statistics of cyberattack increases observed in 2021 across various regions, countries and industry sectors. 

In 2021, CPR saw a 50% increase in cyber attacks per week on corporate networks compared to 2020, which led to a peak in December with 925 cyberattacks a week per organisation globally. 

CPR observed this was largely due to Log4J exploitations. Hackers targeted Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America the most, but Europe saw the highest percent increase in cyberattacks year over year.

Concerningly, the education and research sector placed first for most targeted industry sector worldwide with attacks jumping by 75% last year. CPR also noted significant increases in cyberattacks on the healthcare sector and government sector.

According to the research, the most targeted sectors worldwide by hackers in 2021 were:

  • Education/Research (+75%)
  • Government/Military (+47%)
  • Communications (+51%)
  • ISP/MSP (67%)
  • Healthcare (71%)

 
While the most targeted regions were:

  • Africa (+13%)
  • Asia Pacific (+25%)
  • Latin America (+38%)
  • Europe (+68%)
  • North America (+61%)

Omer Dembinsky, data research manager at Check Point Software, says hackers keep innovating. 

"Last year, we saw a staggering 50% more cyberattacks per week on corporate networks compared to 2020 – that’s a significant increase," he says.

"We saw cyberattack numbers peak towards the end of the year, largely due to the Log4J vulnerability exploit attempts."

Dembinsky says new penetration techniques and evasion methods have made it much easier for hackers to execute malicious intentions. 

"What’s most alarming is that we’re seeing some pivotal societal industries surge into the most attacked list. Education, government and healthcare industries made it into the top 5 most attacked industries list, worldwide," he says.

"I expect these numbers to increase going into 2022, as hackers will continue to innovate and find new methods to execute cyberattacks, especially ransomware. 

"We’re in a cyber pandemic, if you will. I strongly urge the public, especially those in the education, government and healthcare sectors, to learn the basics on how to protect themselves. Simple measures such as patching, segmenting your networks and educating employees can go a long way in making the world safer.”

Safety Tips

  • Prevention, not detection
  • Secure your everything
  • Patch often
  • Segment your networks
  • Educate employees
  • Implement advanced security technologies

The statistics and data used in the CPR report present data detected by Check Point’s Threat Prevention technologies, stored and analysed in ThreatCloud. ThreatCloud provides real-time threat intelligence derived from hundreds of millions of sensors worldwide, over networks, endpoints and mobiles. ThreatCloud is actually the brain behind Check Point Software’s threat prevention power, combines big data threat intelligence with advanced AI technologies to provide accurate prevention to all Check Point Software customers.
  
 

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