SonicWall Finds 5 Trends in the Global Cyber Frontlines

SonicWall Finds 5 Trends in the Global Cyber Frontlines

Mid-year Update to the 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report

Geopolitics and cybersecurity have always been intertwined. Over the past six months, the threat landscape has progressively shown this.

“The international threat landscape is now seeing an active migration that is profoundly changing the challenges not only in Europe, but the United States as well.... Cybercriminals are working harder than ever to be ahead of the cybersecurity industry, and unlike many of the businesses they target, threat actors often have no shortage of skills, motivation, expertise and funding within their organizations.”

But in the first half of 2022, the patterns are also altering, aside from the targets.

5 Cyber Threat Landscape Trends

1. Rising Malware

Malware increased 11% globally during the first half of 2022 after following a declining trend for previous quarters. A decline in ransomware also helped slow down this progress. However, a spike in cryptojacking and spiking rates of IoT malware were more than enough to push a double-digit growth. 

There are very few universally relevant cyber threat trends, and the surge in malware is one of them. However, regions that often see heavy malware activity, such as the U.S., U.K., and Germany experienced drops, indicating that these global hotspots could be starting to change.

2. Ransomware Decreases by Nearly a Quarter

Although ransomware attacks have significantly increased over the last two years, they decreased by 23% in the first half of 2022. As Russian ransomware organizations struggle to maintain their prior pace in the face of the ongoing crisis with Ukraine, this long-awaited reversal appears to be mostly the product of geopolitical circumstances.

Unfortunately, due to the greater, ongoing global dynamics, this trend is not expected to last.

“As bad actors diversify their tactics, and look to expand their attack vectors, we expect global ransomware volume to climb — not only in the next six months but in the years to come... With so much turmoil in the geopolitical landscape, cybercrime is increasingly becoming more sophisticated and varying in the threats, tools, targets, and locations.”

However, due to the shifting nature of ransomware, certain places are recording drastically different results than expected. While Europe had a 63% spike in attack volume, North America, which normally experiences the majority of ransomware attacks, saw a 42% decline in attack volume.

3. RTDMI Detections Increase

A 45% increase over the same time in 2021, SonicWall’s proprietary Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection™ (RTDMI) technology discovered 270,228 never-before-seen malware types in the first half of 2022.

This technology is a part of the Sonicwall Capture Advanced Threat Protection and uses machine learning to become very good at spotting new and sophisticated threats. It gets better every year as evidenced by the 2,079 percent increase in new variants discovered by RTDMI since it was first introduced in early 2018.

4. IoT Malware Goes Up by 77%

It’s hardly surprising that opportunistic hackers are increasingly turning to IoT malware attacks as more and more IoT devices come online. IoT malware volume has increased 77% to 57 million since the start of the year, which is more than at any other time since SonicWall started keeping track of these attacks and almost as many as were discovered in 2021 as a whole.

5. Encrypted Threats Show Triple-Digit Growth

Threats that are encrypted increased 132% in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period last year. Based on an exceptionally high number of attacks in Q2, which spiked in May to become the second-highest month for encrypted threat volume ever recorded by SonicWall, this was the case.

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