Check Point Research (CPR) has released its global statistics on cyberattacks observed in 2021 by region, country, and industry.
Last year, the world saw a 50% increase in cyberattacks per week on corporate networks compared to 2020. This peaked in December largely due to the advent of the serious Log4j exploitations.
In terms of industry, the education and research sectors were the most targeted by threat actors, with data showing that cyberattacks increased by 75% last year.
Government sectors saw a 47% increase over the same period, whilst the healthcare sector jumped by a massive 71% in 2021. Communications (51%) and ISP/MSP (67%) were also in the top five sectors targeted by increased attacks last year.
Europe was the most targeted global region over the period, seeing a 68% increase in attacks. This was followed by North America with 61% and Latin America with 38%. The Asia-Pacific region (25%) and Africa (13%) were also in the top five.
CPR said that this noticeable boost in cyberattacks reached an all-time high at the end of 2021 after the announcement of the Log4j exploit, reaching 925 cyberattacks a week per organisation globally.
Commenting on the data, Omer Dembinsky, Data Research Manager at CPR, said: “Hackers keep innovating. Last year, we saw a staggering 50% more cyberattacks per week on corporate networks compared to 2020 – that’s a significant increase.
We saw cyberattack numbers peak towards the end of the year, largely due to the Log4j vulnerability exploit attempts. New penetration techniques and evasion methods have made it much easier for hackers to execute malicious intentions.
“What’s most alarming is that we’re seeing some pivotal societal industries surge into the most attacked list. Education, government and healthcare industries made it into the top five most attacked industries list, worldwide.”
Dembinsky added: “I expect these numbers to increase going into 2022, as hackers will continue to innovate and find new methods to execute cyberattacks, especially ransomware.”
Just last week, CPR revealed it had uncovered a new malware campaign exploiting Microsoft’s digital signature verification to steal user credentials and sensitive information.
The new ZLoader malware has claimed at least 2,000 victims in 111 countries, CPR said.
CPR said that companies and the public should begin implementing safety measures now to prevent further attacks.
They said that “prevention, not detection” is the best course of action when it comes to cybersecurity. Firms should patch often, segment their networks, and educate employees on the latest threats and prevention techniques, as well as implementing advanced security technologies.
Dembinsky continued: “We’re in a cyber-pandemic if you will. I strongly urge the public, especially those in the education, government, and healthcare sectors, to learn the basics on how to protect themselves.
“Simple measures such as patching, segmenting your networks and educating employees can go a long way in making the world safer.”
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