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Cyber Security Awareness Month: 40% Increase in Weekly Cyber Attacks on Organizations Worldwide in 2021

by Wanda Rich
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security SBI 300195529 1

As October Cyber Security Awareness month embarks, Check Point Research shares new data on current cyber security threats by volume, industry and region. Cyber attacks on organizations worldwide surged 40% in 2021, compared to last year. September 2021 breaks records for number of weekly cyber attacks, compared to all other months since January 2020.

  • 1 out of every 61 organizations worldwide is impacted by ransomware every week
  • Education/Research is the #1 most targeted industry globally, marking a 60% increase in cyber attacks from 2020
  • In the UK, 84% increase in weekly cyber attacks in 2021, compared to 2020 (368 cyber attacks a week on average)
  • Ransomware attacks on UK organizations increased by 16% in 2021, compared to 2020

Check Point Research (CPR) shares new data on current cyber security threats around the world, as October Cyber Security Awareness month commences. Based* on organizations it tracks, CPR reports:

Global Statistics by Volume

  • 1 out of every 61 organizations worldwide every week is impacted by ransomware
  • 40% increase in average weekly cyber attacks on organizations in 2021 compared to 2020
  • September 2021 saw the most amount of cyber attacks per week ( avg. 870 attacks), compared to all other months since January 2020, more than double the number of attacks weekly when compared to the lowest point in March 2020

Global Statistics by Industry

Ranking of Industry Cyber Attacks:

1)      Education/Research, with an average of 1,468 attacks per organization each week, a 60% increase from 2020

2)      Government/Military, with an average of 1,082 attacks per organization each week, a 40% increase from 2020

3)      Healthcare, with an average of 752 cyber attacks per organization each week, a 55% increase from 2020

Ranking of Industry Ransomware Attacks:

1)      ISP/MSP sector, with an average weekly number of impacted organizations in this sector in 2021 is 1 out of 36, a 32% increase from 2020

2)      Healthcare, with 1 out of 44 organizations having been impacted, a 39% increase

3)      Software vendors, with 1 out of 52 organizations, a 21% increase

Cyber Attacks by Region

The most attacked regions, in order were:

  1. Africa: average of 1,615 weekly attacks per organization, a 15% increase from 2020
  2. APAC: average of 1,299 weekly attacks per organization, a 20% increase from 2020
  3. Latin America: average of 1,117 attacks weekly a 37% increase from 2020
  4. Europe: average of 665 attacks weekly, a 65% increase from 2020
  5. North America:  average of 497 attacks weekly, a 57% increase

Additional data by region:

  • Europe and North America experienced the most dramatic rises in cyber attacks compared to 2020, marking 65% and 57% increases respectively
  • APAC is sees the highest volume of attack attempts by ransomware, with 1 out of 34 organizations being impacted every week in 2021

Omer Dembinsky, Data Research Group Manager, Threat Intelligence and Research Organization at Check Point Software Technologies: “October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and a time for everyone to be reminded about the role they play in ensuring cybersecurity, both locally and across the world. Since the outbreak of the pandemic globally, cyber criminals have sprung into action to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them. With the continued rise in cyberattacks, Check Point Software recommends that organizations adopt a preventive approach to cybersecurity, rather than work on remediation after the fact when damage has been inflicted.”

Security Tips for Organizations Everywhere

  • Educate. Educate. Educate. User education is one of the most important defenses an organization can deploy.
  • Reduce attack surface. Take full control of peripherals, applications, network traffic, and data.
  • Think prevention, first. Legacy solutions that rely upon incident detection and response miss novel attacks and respond too late to be able to minimize the damage of a cyberattack campaign.
  • Be phishing-aware. Be wary of clicking on links that look in any way suspicious and only download content from reliable sources that can be verified.
  • Stay up-to-date. Keeping computers up-to-date and applying security patches, especially those labeled as critical, can help limit an organization’s vulnerability to sophisticated cyber-attacks.

*The data used in this report was detected by Check Point Software’s Threat Prevention technologies, stored and analyzed in Check Point ThreatCloud. ThreatCloud provides real-time threat intelligence derived from hundreds of millions of sensors worldwide, over networks, endpoints and mobiles. The intelligence is enriched with AI-based engines and exclusive research data from Check Point Research – The intelligence & research arm of Check Point Software Technologies.