What Cybercriminals Are Working On in 2022 – What We Know So Far

What Cybercriminals Are Working On in 2022 – What We Know So Far

The world continues to grapple with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the shift to hybrid or remote working. Never known to rest on their laurels, cybercriminals have been building on all they’ve learnt over the last two years to become more formidable in 2022. SonicWall, a Neos-IT security partner, has been tracking their movements, trending where they attack, who they target, and how new techniques are developing in the 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report. It’s well worth a read if you have the time, but we’ve pulled out some of the most actionable insights for the kinds of small businesses we work with.

The scale of ransomware threats continues to grow

In 2021, SonicWall researchers recorded 623.2 million attempted ransomware attacks – an increase of 105% on 2020. Of that, 62% were made up of high volumes of Ryuk, SamSam and Cerber attacks.

The number of ransomware attacks was “unusually aggressive”, but so too are the techniques cybercriminals use to extort money from organisations. Double extortion grew rapidly in 2021, as did new triple extortion techniques. Supply chain attacks and attacks on vital infrastructure have also increased, putting mounting pressure on governments and regulators to unify against the growing threat of ransomware.

Malware is down globally, but not for the UK

In the years that SonicWall has been producing their ‘state of the nation’ threat reports, attacks of every type have grown in number apart from malware. The data for 2021 shows that malware is still thankfully on the decline, down 4% on 2020, but that’s the smallest percentage drop they’ve seen in some time with a rebound in the second half of the year nearly erasing the 22% drop recorded in the first half. And malware isn’t falling everywhere. The UK saw an increase of 48%, bucking a global decline in malware.

Log4j attempts are at record highs – if you needed a reminder to patch, this is it

From mid-December 2021 to the end of January 2022, SonicWall spotted 142.2 million Log4j exploit attempts. That’s an average of 2.7 million attempts a day. Cybercriminals seem increasingly keen on attacking these types of vulnerabilities, and we’re likely to see more record levels of Log4j attempts in the coming months. If you’ve been mulling over patching your organisation’s internal systems against Log4j attempts, now is the time to act.

SonicWall identifies never-before-seen malware variants

Keen to prove the efficacy of SonicWall’s suite of threat protection tools, they also include testing and benchmarking data in each year’s threat report. In 2021, SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) with Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI)™ became the only solution in ICSA Labs Advanced Threat Defence (ATD) history to earn four perfect scores, without any false positives. Even better, RTDMI was also used to identify new cyberattacks, finding 442,151 new malware variants in 2021 – an average of 1,221 a day.

Cryptojacking is up by a fifth

In 2021, Bitcoin’s market cap hit an all-time high, so it follows that cybercriminals would want to get in on that action. SonicWall recorded a 19% increase in cryptojacking compared to 2020. That’s an average of 338 attempts per customer network.

What we do know is that cybercrime is here to stay, and targets businesses of all shapes and sizes. Do not assume that your cloud arrangements or lack of sensitive data make you unattractive to cybercriminals. We’re here to help. Drop us a line or give us a call to discuss how we can help bolster your defences with SonicWall’s range of leading cybersecurity solutions.