Cyberattacks skyrocket, U.S. companies targeted

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08/18/2020

When I hear the word “skyrocket,” it always reminds me of fireworks bursting overhead, spraying beautiful, illuminating dots and sparkles of color across a black nature canvas. However, when it comes to cyberattacks, there’s nothing beautiful at all about them; they’re detrimental.

Take a moment to really think about these malicious assaults that gain unauthorized access to a victim’s device. Sensitive data can be stolen, computers completely taken over and harmful takeovers of internal network infrastructure. 

Unfortunately, over the past 12 months, cyberattacks on U.S. companies shot up by 93 percent, according to an Atlas VPN investigation. VMware Carbon Black canvassed 250 North American company representatives operating across different verticals. Data from March 2019 to March 2020 was taken into account and produced the following results: 

  • 23 percent of respondents saw an uptick in attack volumes between 1 to 25 percent;
  • 42 reported a more significant increase between 26 to 50 percent; 
  • Nearly a quarter of the surveyed companies saw more than 50 percent growth in attack volume;
  • 4 percent reported attack volume surged by more than 2 to 4 times;
  • Financial services saw the highest average rise in cyberattacks at 56 percent, which is 11 percent above the norm; 
  • 43 percent of financial service companies reported an over 50 percent increase in the volume of attacks; and 
  • Healthcare saw an average increase of 49 percent in cyberattacks. 

 

Attacks come in a variety of types, kind of like Skittles, where victims can literally “taste the rainbow” (to quote Skittles’ commercials) of the types of tactics and techniques cybercriminals are using. However, most favored by cybercriminals in this survey was custom malware that leverages existing, legitimate, already-installed software on a victim’s computer. From this survey, 29 percent of the companies identified custom malware as the most frequent type of attack.

Other types of attacks included: 

  • Commodity malware reported by 1 in 10 of the surveyed companies;
  • Supply chain attacks reported by 9 percent; 
  • Ransomware at 7 percent;
  • Hollowing reported by 5 percent of the surveyed companies; and 
  • Island hopping reported by 2 percent. 

 

So, now that you’ve got all the data, stay tuned for next week’s blog when I talk about these types of attacks; identify what exactly they are; and give tips on how you can prevent you and your company falling prey to them.