Cyber intrusion has begun to grow on a massive scale globally over the past year, with consulting company Accenture noting in its mid-year Cyber Investigations, Forensics & Response (CIFR) report that the level of cyber intrusion activity detected in the first six months of 2021 surged by 125% in comparison with the same period of 2020. This abnormally large increase was a direct result of web shell activities, targeted ransomware and extortion operations, and supply chain intrusions.
The country which was affected the most by cyber intrusions was the United States which suffered 36% of the total volume observed by the CIFR team. The United Kingdom and Australia were the next most targeted countries with an estimated volume of 24% and 11%, respectively. It is quite alarming that these three countries accounted for more than 70% of the volume of cyber intrusions observed.
Amongst the sectors, the consumer goods and services industry was earmarked for intrusions the most, with 21% of cyberattacks occurring in this sector. The following most targeted industries were the industrial/manufacturing (16%), banking (10%), and travel & hospitality industries (9%).
The observations also listed types of malware and categorized them by volume, top ransomware variants observed, and the industries which saw the most ransomware attacks in the first half of 2021. The most vital observations include:
- Ransomware was the most observed form of malware, clocking in at 38% of all intrusions, followed by backdoors at 33%.
- REvil/Sodinokibi was the ransomware variant that was discovered most, cumulating to around 25% of ransomwares observed.
- The sector which saw the most attacks was the Insurance sector at 23% of ransomware attacks, followed by consumer goods & services at 17% and telecommunications at 16%.
- The companies which recorded annual revenues between U/S$1 billion and US$9.9 billion accounted for more than half (54%) of ransomware and extortion victims. Companies that recorded yearly revenues between US$10 billion and US$20 billion accounted for 20% of ransomware attacks.
Robert Boyce, the head in charge of leading Accenture’s Cyber Investigations, Forensics & Response globally, believes that every organization is in danger of suffering the same fate from cyberattacks. He stated in an interview that most businesses today are only concerned with securing their core corporate systems, which leads to them neglecting their supply chain as well as subsidiaries and affiliates. This lack of attention to improving overall cybersecurity is what causes the increased number of hacks due to cybercriminals being able to infiltrate these unsecured systems easily.
Mr. Boyce went on to say that it is crucial for organizations to have an effective plan in place which would cover all systems at risk of a cyberattack. The aforementioned industries which saw increased attacks post-pandemic must reevaluate their cybersecurity status and implement effective solutions to prevent such attacks from occurring on a consistent basis.