SonicWall Threat Intelligence Confirms Alarming Surge in Ransomware, Malicious Cyberattacks as Threats Double in 2021

  • Over 623 million ransomware attacks globally, an astounding 105% increase
  • Ransomware volume increased 232% since 2019
  • U.S., U.K. ransomware climbed staggering 98% and 227%, respectively
  • Asia saw a 121.682% increase in ransomware attack YoY
  • India saw an increase of 981% of ransomware attacks in 2021, while Japan saw a 63.55% increase of Malware attacks compared to 2021
  • Log4j vulnerability exploits eclipsed 142 million in six weeks
  • 65% increase in ‘never-before-seen’ malware variants identified
  • Encrypted threats increased 167% year-over-year
  • Record 97.1 million cryptojacking attacks found

SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – 21 February 2022 – SonicWall, the publisher of the world’s
most quoted ransomware threat intelligence, today released the 2022 SonicWall
Cyber Threat Report. The bi-annual report details a sustained meteoric rise in ransomware with
623.3 million attacks globally. Nearly all monitored threats, cyberattacks and
malicious digital assaults rose in 2021 including: ransomware, encrypted
threats, IoT malware and cryptojacking.

“Cyberattacks become more attractive and potentially more disastrous as dependence on information technology increases,” said SonicWall President and CEO Bill
Conner. “Securing information in a boundless world is a near impossible
and thankless job, especially as the boundaries of organizations are
ever-expanding to limitless endpoints and networks.”

Ransomware’s Savage Reign
Continues as Attacks Increase 105%

Capture Labs threat researchers diligently tracked the dramatic rise in
ransomware, recording an astounding 318.6 million more ransomware attacks than
2020, a 105% increase. Ransomware volume has risen 232% since 2019.

High-profile ransomware attacks
impacted businesses, state and federal governments,
schools, hospitals and even individuals. Attacks hit supply chains,
causing widespread system downtime,
economic loss and reputational damage. Following global trends, all
industries faced large increases of ransomware volume, including government
(+1,885%), healthcare (755%), education (152%) and retail (21%).

Ransomware has developed into a
massive and systemic threat that is forecasted to get worse. Across the globe,
U.S. and U.K. climbed a staggering
98% and 227% respectively. In Asia, ransomware attacks also leapt in 2021 with a 121.682%
increase YoY, with India and Japan also saw alarming rises of 981% and 63.55%
respectively, in IoT malware volume.

Debasish Mukherjee, Vice
President, Regional Sales-APAC at SonicWall
adds, “With threats of almost every type on
the rise, is it imperative that we have strategies and resilience systems in
place to respond almost instantaneously. Especially in Asia Pacific where many
have been the target of these malicious attacks in a new paradigm for
cybercrime, all the more our findings in the 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report
will help us to find the right security measures to protect our greatest assets
and be a step ahead to prevent unwanted and damaging attacks.”


As Cyberattack Vectors Expand, Malicious
Assaults Climb

The frequency
and variety of cyberattacks continue to expand every year, with an
increasing cost to organizations worldwide. SMBs and enterprises are
progressively threatened by an assortment of cyberattacks, and without knowing
what they are, or how cybercriminals operate, protecting business-critical data
from cyberattacks becomes unmanageable.

“Attacks on networks rose to a fever pitch in 2021,” said SonicWall Vice President of
Platform Architecture Dmitriy Ayrapetov. “Ransomware, cryptojacking,
vulnerably exploitation, phishing and other attacks continue to plague
organizations around the world and overwhelm security teams. It’s important to
understand the breakdown of these attacks and why they continue to be
successful, as well as the drivers and trends behind them.”

Insight on additional cyber threats include:

  • Apache Log4j vulnerabilities were quickly exploited, with threat
    actors logging 142.2 million exploit attempts between Dec. 11 and Jan. 31 — an
    average of 2.7 million each day. Within three days of the public disclosure, exploit
    attempts had already passed the 1 million mark.
  • Malware volume was slightly down again in 2021, marking both a third-straight year of decrease as well as a seven-year low. However, an uptick in attacks during the second half of 2021 almost completely erased the 22% drop in malware that SonicWall had recorded at the mid-year point, bringing the total decrease for 2021 to just 4% — suggesting malware numbers may rebound in 2022.
  • Encrypted
    167% year-over-year. In August, the number of encrypted attacks broke the 1
    million mark for the first time, then continued to rise, reaching nearly 2.5
    million by year’s end.
  • Cryptojacking continued to surge last year, rising 19% globally to
    97.1 million, which is the most attacks that SonicWall Capture Labs threat
    researchers have ever recorded in a single year.
  • IoT malware volume rose 6% in 2021, totaling 60.1 million hits by
    year’s end. While this isn’t good news, it’s at least better than it has been:
    In 2019 and 2020, IoT malware volume rose 218% and 66%, respectively. With no
    corresponding slowdown in the proliferation of connected devices, this suggests
    that attack volumes may be leveling off.

Smarter Than Ever, RTDMI Discovered
65% More ‘Never-before-seen’ Malware Variants

SonicWall’s patented Real-Time
Deep Memory InspectionTM (RTDMI) technology identified a total of
442,151 never-before-seen malware variants in 2021, a 65% year-over-year increase
and an average of 1,211 per day. In Q4, RTDMI found more never-before-seen
malware variants than in any quarter since its introduction in 2018.

SonicWall Advanced Threat Protection
(ATP) with RTDMI recently earned
its fourth consecutive ‘perfect score’ in the ICSA Labs ATD testing for Q4 2021. ICSA Labs is an independent third party
that tested SonicWall’s solutions using never-before-seen malware
samples, and over the course of the entire year (2021) SonicWall technology did
not miss a single malware sample nor produced one false positive.

To learn more about SonicWall and
get the complete 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, please visit


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