“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future,” as Niels Bohr, Nobel laureate in Physics said. At the start of 2020, very few of us could have foreseen the ongoing global disruption that would be caused by COVID-19, the worst pandemic in over a century. The seismic changes that affected our lives almost overnight are likely to continue through 2021 and beyond.
During lockdowns, the internet enabled us to keep our world running. Businesses internationally surprised themselves with the speed and success of their digital initiatives: it’s estimated that during 2020, digital transformation was advanced by up to seven years. What was once thought to be almost impossible – or at least, impractical – was achieved in just a few months.
But as organizations worldwide transformed their ways of working, so threat actors and cyber criminals changed their tactics so that they could take advantage of these changes, and of the pandemic’s disruption, with surges in attacks across all industry sectors:
- In Q1 2020, organizations were hit by a ‘perfect storm’ of increased cyber-attacks, with nearly three-quarters of enterprises reporting an increase in attacks, and 95% saying they faced added IT security challenges with managing large-scale remote access for employees.
- Hackers ramped up ‘thread hijacking’ attacks on remote workers to steal data or infiltrate networks, and attacks against remote access systems also increased sharply.
- Double-extortion ransomware attacks surged against all industries. In Q3 2020, nearly half of all ransomware incidents involved the threat of releasing stolen data, and on average, a new organization became a victim of ransomware every 10 seconds worldwide.
- Attacks on the healthcare sector went critical later in 2020, with attacks (especially ransomware) on hospitals increasing by 45% worldwide.
And of course, in December we saw the massive Sunburst attacks which targeted tens of thousands of government and private-sector technology organizations worldwide via a backdoor embedded in their SolarWinds network management software. The full extent and impact of this huge Gen V attack is still being uncovered.
This growing cyber pandemic threatens the new normal that we have created over the past year. But what should organizations do to avoid being the next victim? The new Check Point Research 2021 Cyber Security Report gives the information enterprises need to defend themselves. It reviews 2020’s most significant and damaging cyber-incidents, and shows how these can be prevented. It also uses CPR’s in-depth product and vulnerability research, and Check Point’s ThreatCloud threat intelligence to show the evolving threats you need to consider in 2021, to keep you ahead of emerging and new forms of attack.