Ransomware back in big way, 181.5 million attacks since January

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SonicWall announces record numbers for malware volume, ransomware attacks, encrypted threats and chip-based attacks in the mid-year update of the 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report.

2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report

“Real-time cyber threat intelligence is more critical than ever as cybercriminals continue to find new attack vectors — like encrypted and chip-based attacks,” said Chad Sweet, CEO at The Chertoff Group. “To stay protected in the cyber arms race, organizations must use every tool in their security toolbox, particularly technology that delivers the necessary visibility to enhance an organization’s security posture.”

Malware volume still climbing from 2017’s record highs

The malware boom of 2017 has shown no signs of stopping through the first half of 2018. SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers recorded 5.99 billion malware attacks during the first two quarters of the year. At this same point in 2017, SonicWall logged 2.97 billion malware attacks.

On a month-to-month basis in 2018, malware volume remained consistent in the first quarter before dropping to less than 1 billion per month across April, May and June. These totals were still more than double that of 2017.

Ransomware back in big way

Published in March’s original report, SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers found that ransomware attacks dropped significantly — from 645 million to 184 million — between 2016 and 2017.

SonicWall now shows ransomware attacks surging in first six months of 2018. There have been 181.5 million ransomware attacks year to date. This marks a 229 percent increase over this same time frame in 2017.

2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report

Encrypted attacks ascend to record highs

The use of encryption continues to grow for legitimate traffic and malicious cyberattacks alike. In 2017, SonicWall reported that 68 percent of sessions were encrypted by SSL/TLS standards. Through six months of 2018, 69.7 percent of sessions are leveraging encryption.

Cybercriminals are strategically following this trend to help prevent their malicious payloads from being discovered. Encrypted attacks increased 275 percent when compared to this time in 2017.

“Encrypted attacks are a critical challenge in the industry,” said SonicWall CEO Bill Conner. “Far too few organizations are aware that cybercriminals are using encryption to circumvent traditional networks security controls, and others aren’t activating new mitigation techniques, such Deep Packet Inspection of SSL and TLS traffic (DPI-SSL). We predict encrypted attacks to increase in scale and sophistication until they become the standard for malware delivery. And we’re not that far off.”