We’ve passed the halfway mark for 2019. I know. I’m just as shocked as you are. There are only 5 months left until Christmas. The rapidly-approaching holiday season aside, it’s a good time to review the first half of the year to identify issues and trends and make any necessary adjustments for the remainder of 2019. When it comes to cybersecurity, SonicWall published a new report last week to help you do just that. The 2019 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report is a complimentary mid-year review of the volume of cyber attacks, and the techniques and trends that have defined the year thus far.
The report is sourced from real-world data collected from the SonicWall Capture Threat Network—comprised of more than one million sensors spanning 215 countries and territories around the world. Researchers also reviewed and analyzed relevant malware reputation data from tens of thousands of firewalls and email security devices around the world, and shared threat intelligence from more than 50 industry collaboration groups among other things.
Silver Lining: Decline in Malware Attacks
Let’s start with a bit of good news. SonicWall found that general malware attacks actually declined 20 percent over the first half of 2019. That’s remarkable enough just looking at the percentage, but percentages are also relative. When it comes to malware, though, a decline of 20 percent is equivalent to a decline of 1.2 billion malware attacks, which sounds more impressive than 20 percent.
The report also notes that phishing attack volume is down 19 percent year-to-date compared with 2018. However, SonicWall also stresses that there’s plenty of time left in 2019 for that to rebound, and that cyber attacks seem to spike seasonally during strategic times like the holiday shopping season.
IoT Malware and Encrypted Threats Skyrocket
When it comes to malware targeting internet-of-things (IoT) devices and threats that are encrypted to prevent detection and analysis, however, the picture is decidedly less rosy. SonicWall reports that IoT malware increased 55 percent and encrypted threats spiked 76 percent compared to the 2018. Yikes.
The report states, “Through the first six months of 2019, SonicWall has registered 2.4 million encrypted attacks, almost eclipsing the 2018 full-year total in half the time. This marks a 76 percent year-to-date increase.”
There has been a significant increase in attacks against IoT devices, and it doesn’t seem like that will slow down anytime soon. Things like Nest thermostats and Ring doorbells get a lot of media attention, but IoT is also pervasive throughout manufacturing, utilities, and other industries where compromise of an IoT device can have a much more serious impact than somebody hacking in to see who stepped on your front porch or mess with the temperature of your home.
Tip of the Iceberg
These are just a few of the highlights from the SonicWall report. There is a lot of valuable data and insight regarding ransomware, cryptojacking, innovative phishing attack strategies and much more. It’s a free report. Download the 2019 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report and check it out for yourself.