Ransomware has seen a significant increase so far in 2021, with global attack volume increasing by 151% for the 1st 6 months of the year as compared with the half a year-ago.
Also, the FBI has warned that there are now 100 different strains circulating worldwide.
The 2nd quarter of the year saw the highest volumes of ransomware attacks ever, with Ryuk leading the way.
From a number view, the ransomware issue reached a shocking 304.7m attempted attacks within SonicWall Capture Labs’ telemetry. In perspective, the firm logged ‘only’ 304.6m ransomware attempts for the whole of 2020.
The top 3 ransomware types seen in the wild by the firm are Ryuk, Cerber & Sam Sam, observes a recent mid-year report from SonicWall.
Top Ransomware Variants
For the 3 most common types of ransomware, SonicWall researchers recorded 93.9m instances of Ryuk in the 1st half, putting it at the No. 1 position – a number that’s triple the number of Ryuk attempts seen in the 1st 6 months of 2020.
In addition, researchers also saw Cerber used in 52.5m recorded hits in the 1st half of 2021. Researchers observed that Cerber is definitely on the rise; the number of attacks nearly quadrupled in April, & by May it had risen to nearly 5 times the levels seen in Jan.
Also, there were 49.7m cases of Sam Sam in SonicWall’s numbers for the 1st half — over double the volume seen during the entire of 2020. June alone saw 15.7m hits, researchers explained, which is over two-thirds of the 23.5m Sam Sam hits seen for all of 2020.
The level of attacks seems to be increasing, according to SonicWall. Ransomware volume jumped from 115.8m attacks in Q1 to 188.9m attacks in Q2.
“Even if we don’t record a single ransomware attempt in the entire 2nd half (which is optimistic), 2021 will already go down as the worst year for ransomware SonicWall has ever recorded,” according to the report.
Also, every month during the 2nd quarter also set a new record.
“After rising to a new high in April, ransomware rose again in May, then saw another increase in June,” researchers stated. “During that month, SonicWall recorded 78.4m ransomware attempts — more than the entire 2nd quarter of 2020, & nearly half the total number of attacks for the year in 2019.”
The report found that ransomware isn’t just growing — it’s a worldwide problem.
Europe felt the brunt of the spikes in volume, with a 234% growth in ransomware attacks in the 1st half, according to SonicWall. N. America wasn’t too far behind, with ransomware volume jumping 180% in the region.
The news is better for Asia, where ransomware hits were up just 59% year-to-date. However, after hitting a zenith in March, attack volume began reducing, researchers stated. By June, there were only about a 5th as many attacks as there had been 3 months prior.
US rising 185%
Europe as a region saw the worst, but the US recorded easily the most ransomware attacks, the analysis found, with attack volume in the US rising 185% from the 1st half last year.
“In fact, of the top 10 countries for ransomware volume, the US had nearly as much ransomware as the other 9 put together…times 4,” according to the report.
Ransomware volume in the 2nd-ranking country, the UK, rose 144%.
Govt. – Most-Targeted Sector
By an overwhelming margin, the most commonly targeted industry in 2021 has been govt. By June, govt. customers were seeing about 10x more ransomware attempts than the average, according to researchers. However, the ‘devil is in the details’ when it comes to fully interpreting this statistic.
“Govt. customers are still seeing a higher-than-average number of ransomware attempts, but in 3 out of 6 months during the 1st half of 2021, education customers saw even more,” concluded this report.