22% of cybersecurity incidents in H1 2021 were ransomware attacks

Ransomware attacks made up 22% of all reported cybersecurity incidents in the first half of 2021, according to recent analysis by CybSafe.

cybersecurity incidents H1 2021

CybSafe analysed data from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to uncover the number and nature of UK cybersecurity breaches reported to the body in 2020 and 2021.

So far in 2021 phishing was to blame for most incidents, accounting for 40% of all cybersecurity cases reported to the ICO, slightly down from 44% the year before. However, ransomware is surging, up from 11% of all reported incidents in the first half of 2020 to 22% in 2021.

Education greatly impacted by cybersecurity incidents in H1 2021

Education is the sector hit the hardest, with ransomware accounting for 32% of attacks in the first half of 2021 compared to just 11% the year before.

With many schools rushing to transition to remote learning, increased attacks have resulted in schools losing coursework, financial records and COVID-19 testing data. In March 2021, all 17 schools in the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust faced disruption following a ransomware attack.

Retail and manufacturing continue to be a prime target for cyberattacks, making up 20% of all reported incidents in the first half of 2021. Retailers hold increasingly large amounts of customer data and use digital channels to stay competitive, leading to a greater risk of cyberattacks.

Oz Alashe, CEO of CybSafe, said: “Ransomware, already a significant threat, has become increasingly prevalent over the past year. Recent attacks on government agencies and healthcare services have shown us just how devastating such attacks can be. In education, the rapid transition to remote learning has opened new holes in schools’ defences, and ransomware gangs have been all too happy to exploit them.

“To combat this threat, we need to move beyond box-ticking awareness exercises and appreciate the human aspect of cybersecurity if we want to experience genuine behavioural change. These behaviours are the foundation of our defence against such malicious threats and will only grow in their importance over the coming years”.


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