Cyber World’s Most Fearsome Ransomware Is Ryuk: SonicWall


A new report finds Ryuk, a relatively young crypto ransomware strain is behind a third of all ransomware attacks in 2020.  Sadly, the trend is likely to continue in 2021.

The year has been particularly challenging for cybersecurity professionals — not only did they have to make fundamental changes in their security approach, but they also fought off malicious actors intent on taking advantage of the global health crisis. In a bid to hacker-proof enterprise networks, organizations ramped up firewalls, email security, and anti-malware technology, but seemingly, it only worked in theory, as this new report from SonicWall points out. 

Data from the network security provider shows ransomware emerged as the biggest cyber enemy in the July-September quarter. The report finds “a  third (33.7%) of all ransomware attacks this year occurred by Q3 2020,” with SonicWall detecting 67.3 million Ryuk attacks in Q3 alone. 

Unsurprisingly, homebound workforces, the end of the network perimeter, and a growing surge in BYOD and IoT devices have a central role in opening the cyber floodgates for hackers. Newly extended organizations grappled with delivering secure remote access solutions for a large number of endpoints. 

The report says the pandemic fuelled “an unexpected flood of devices on networks, resulting in an increase of potential threats to companies fighting to remain operational during the pandemic.” As a result, SonicWall researchers found a 30% increase in IoT malware attacks, a total of 32.4 million worldwide. Suddenly, with endpoints here and everywhere, IT departments battled to secure data, people and organizations.

See Also: Meet the Top 10 Nastiest Malware of 2020: Webroot

Here are the key findings:  

  1. 67.3 million (33.7%) of all ransomware attacks were caused by the Ryuk ransomware: A well-known cyber baddie, Ryuk, a new variant of ransomware has gained notoriety in the cybercrime world and targets large enterprises. SonicWall Vice President, Platform Architecture, Dmitriy Ayrapeto says Ryuk, a relatively young ransomware family that was discovered in August 2018 has made significant gains in popularity in 2020. 

Source: SonicWall

  1. 30% increase in IoT malware attacks, a total of 32.4 million worldwide by Q3: Amid the ongoing crisis, IoT devices became an attractive point of entry for attackers. Unit 42Opens a new window (Palo Alto Networks) report found that 98% of IoT device traffic is unencrypted. SonicWall estimates the number of IoT devices surged from 7 billion in 2018 to 31 billionOpens a new window in 2020.  This increased attack surface resulted in a 30% increase in IoT malware attacks by Q3 2020.  “Employees used to rely upon the safety office networks provided, but the growth of remote and mobile workforces has extended distributed networks that serve both the house and home office,” said Conner. 

Source: SonicWall

 “Consumers need to stop and think if devices such as AC controls, home alarm systems or baby monitors are safely deployed. For optimum protection, professionals using virtual home offices, especially those operating in the C-suite, should consider segmenting home networks,” he adds. 

  1. Malware attacks dipped, with 39% decline worldwide: Well, that doesn’t mean hackers and malware authors have taken a break. Though the report suggests a dip in malware attacks, security researchers warn that lower number doesn’t mean that malware is going anywhere. 

Besides malware, ransomware, and IoT attacks, SonicWall also reported an increase in cryptojacking (2%), encrypted threats (3%), and intrusion attempts (19%).

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