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Cyberattacks on organisations worldwide surge 40% in 2021

By Shannon Williams, Fri 8 Oct 2021

Cyberattacks on organisations worldwide surged 40% in 2021, compared to last year, with September 2021 breaking records for number of weekly cyberattacks, compared to all other months since January 2020.

That's according to new data released by cybersecurity solutions firm Check Point Software, which found 1 out of every 61 organisations worldwide is impacted by ransomware every week.

The research found Education/Research is the most targeted industry globally, marking a 60% increase in cyberattacks from 2020. Australian organisations saw a 37% spike during the Jan20-Sep21 period with an average of 445 attacks every week, while New Zealand saw a staggering 89% increase in cyberattacks with 567 attacks on average per week during the same period.

According to Check Point, September 2021 saw the most amount of cyberattacks per wee, with an average of 870 attacks, compared to all other months since January 2020, more than double the number of attacks weekly when compared to the lowest point in March 2020.

“October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and a time for everyone to be reminded about the role they play in ensuring cybersecurity, both locally and across the world," says Omer Dembinsky, data research group manager, threat intelligence and research organisation at Check Point Software Technologies. 

"Since the outbreak of the pandemic globally, cybercriminals have sprung into action to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them," he says.

"With the continued rise in cyberattacks, Check Point Software recommends that organisations adopt a preventive approach to cybersecurity, rather than work on remediation after the fact when damage has been inflicted.”

Global Statistics by Industry

Ranking of Industry Cyber Attacks:

1)     Education/Research, with an average of 1,468 attacks per organisation each week, a 60% increase from 2020

2)     Government/Military, with an average of 1,082 attacks per organisation each week, a 40% increase from 2020

3)     Healthcare, with an average of 752 cyberattacks per organisation each week, a 55% increase from 2020

Ranking of Industry Ransomware Attacks:

1)     ISP/MSP sector, with an average weekly number of impacted organisations in this sector in 2021 is 1 out of 36, a 32% increase from 2020

2)     Healthcare, with 1 out of 44 organisations having been impacted, a 39% increase

3)     Software vendors, with 1 out of 52 organisations, a 21% increase

Cyberattacks by Region

The most attacked regions, in order were:

Africa: average of 1,615 weekly attacks per organisation, a 15% increase from 2020
APAC: average of 1,299 weekly attacks per organisation, a 20% increase from 2020
Latin America: average of 1,117 attacks weekly a 37% increase from 2020
Europe: average of 665 attacks weekly, a 65% increase from 2020
North America:  average of 497 attacks weekly, a 57% increase
 
Europe and North America experienced the most dramatic rises in cyberattacks compared to 2020, marking 65% and 57% increases respectively, and APAC sees the highest volume of attack attempts by ransomware, with 1 out of 34  organisations being impacted every week in 2021.

Security Tips for Organisations Everywhere

Educate. Educate. Educate. User education is one of the most important defenses an organisation can deploy.
Reduce attack surface. Take full control of peripherals, applications, network traffic, and data.
Think prevention, first. Legacy solutions that rely upon incident detection and response miss novel attacks and respond too late to be able to minimise the damage of a cyberattack campaign.
Be phishing-aware. Be wary of clicking on links that look in any way suspicious and only download content from reliable sources that can be verified.
Stay up-to-date. Keeping computers up-to-date and applying security patches, especially those labelled as critical, can help limit an organisation’s vulnerability to sophisticated cyberattacks.
 

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