How does ransomware affect IoT applications

Sharp increase in ransomware and IoT attacks

"For most of us, 2020 is the year the economy nearly grinds to a halt, the morning commutes ended and traditional offices disappeared," said Bill Conner, President and CEO of SonicWall. “The massive increase in remote workers and virtual offices has opened up attractive new attack vectors for cybercriminals to exploit. Our analyzes show their relentless pursuit of things that are not rightfully theirs, for financial gain, economic dominance and global recognition. "

Key Findings from SonicWall Capture Labs:

  • Malware decreased 39% (4.4 billion year-to-date); Total malware volume down for third straight quarter
  • Global ransomware attacks increased by 40% (199.7 million)
  • 19% increase in intrusion attempts (3.5 trillion)
  • IoT malware up 30% (32.4 million)
  • Encrypted threats grew 3% (3.2 million)
  • 2% increase in cryptojacking attacks (57.9 million)

The number of malware is falling - but attacks are more targeted and diverse

While malware programmers and cybercriminals are still very active and waging sophisticated cyberattacks, SonicWall concluded that the total global malware volume will continue to decline steadily in 2020. Compared to last year, SonicWall researchers recorded 4.4 billion malware attacks in the third quarter - a decrease of 39% worldwide.

Regional comparisons show: India (-68%), Germany (-64%), the United States (-33%) and the United Kingdom (-44%) again saw a significant percentage decrease. Lower malware numbers don't mean that malware will go away entirely. Rather, this downturn is part of a cycle that can experience an upswing again in a short period of time.

Ransomware attacks explode - Ryuk responsible for a third of all attacks

Ransomware attacks hit the headlines every day, often wreaking havoc on businesses, communities, healthcare organizations, and educational institutions. The SonicWall experts saw tremendous growth throughout the third quarter, including a massive spike in September. While SonicWall's sensors saw declines in India (-29%), UK (-32%) and Germany (-86%), the US recorded a staggering 145.2 million ransomware attacks - a 139% increase over that Previous year.

In particular, the SonicWall experts observed a significant increase in attacks with the ransomware Ryuk in 2020. In the third quarter of 2019, SonicWall detected only 5,123 Ryuk attacks. In the third quarter of 2020, however, SonicWall detected 67.3 million Ryuk attacks - that's a third (33.7%) of all ransomware attacks that year.

"It is interesting that Ryuk is a relatively young ransomware family that was discovered in August 2018 and grew in popularity significantly in 2020," said Dmitriy Ayrapetov, vice president, platform architecture at SonicWall. “The increase in the workforce who are mobile or work from home seems to have favored the spread of Ryuk. Not only does this result in financial losses, but it also affects health services through attacks on hospitals.

“Ryuk is particularly dangerous because the ransomware is very targeted. It is often preceded by a multi-stage attack via Emotet and TrickBot malware. If an organization is infected with Ryuk, that is a pretty good indication that it is infected with various types of malware. "

The growing importance of IoT goes hand in hand with a growing threat

COVID-19 caused an unexpected flood of new devices on networks. This is adding to the potential threats to businesses struggling to stay operational during the pandemic. SonicWall Capture Labs recorded a 30% increase in IoT malware attacks, totaling 32.4 million worldwide.

For many IoT devices - including voice-controlled smart devices, doorbells, and cameras - security was not a top priority for design. This makes them vulnerable to attack and offers the perpetrators numerous entry points.

“In the past, employees relied on the networks provided without looking at them. But as the mobile and home-based workforce has grown, so have the distributed networks that serve both the home and the home office, ”says Conner. “Consumers have to pause and think about whether devices to control the air conditioning, house alarm systems or baby monitors are used safely. To ensure optimal protection, employees who use virtual home offices - especially if they work in management positions - should consider segmenting their home networks, ”says Conner.

SonicWall's threat data also shows that cryptojacking (57.9 million), intrusion attempts (3.5 trillion), and IoT malware threats (32.4 million) were a trend, especially in the first half of the year. But they are remains a threat and source of attack for cyber criminals.

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