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A Ransomware Record for 2021

SonicWall, longstanding partner of excellence IT and firewall and cybersecurity solutions provider , have released their mid-year threat report, and it’s dominated by a huge increase in ransomware attacks. So what is ransomware, why is it on the rise, and what can your business do to stop it? 

Ransomware is getting worse… 

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts your data so that cyber criminals can charge you a ransom to access it again. In the first six months of 2021, SonicWall recorded 304.7 million attempted ransomware attacks, a 151% increase compared to the same period in 2020. 

That isn’t to say that Ransomware is the only form of cyberattack being used. There were 2.5 billion malware attacks in the first half of 2021, and 2.5 trillion intrusion attempts. 

…and it’s getting worse everywhere. 

The U.K. is the second most targeted country for ransomware in the world, after the U.S. The U.K. saw a 144% rise in the first half of 2021, but both Europe and North America saw increases of 234% and 180% respectively. 

Backups aren’t the whole solution 

At first glance, a robust data backup and recovery system seems to be the answer to ransomware attacks. You don’t need to pay the ransom to access the data if you have a copy stored somewhere else. But where taking access away from you doesn’t pay, giving it to everyone else might. 

Extortion is becoming an increasingly popular tactic, with criminals knowing that businesses will pay to keep the data private, and thereby maintaining their regulatory commitments and avoid incurring fines. This may be one reason that government and educational organisations are being increasingly targeted compared to the retail sector. 

Insurance is only short-term solution 

More and more organisations are using insurance to keep their business safe from the financial impacts of cybercrime, with many cyberinsurance policies covering the payment of ransoms. While this is fine in the short term, SonicWall predicts some unintended consequences. Firstly, as the demands keep getting higher, it’s likely only a matter of time before the payments are simply no longer covered by these policies. 

Perhaps more importantly, though, by paying the ransom you are signalling to criminals that you are both able and willing to pay, making you a prime target for further attacks. One report suggests that for every 10 companies that pay a ransom, 8 are attacked again, potentially by the original perpetrator. 

Prevention is the only cure 

This isn’t to say that insurance and backup and recovery solutions are pointless, far from it. What the report suggests is that these things should form part of a wider cybersecurity strategy. Other important things to consider are your hardware (like firewalls), your software (antivirus, email monitoring) and, perhaps most importantly, user training. With so many factors to consider, it pays to get advice from the experts.

We help our customers implement a cybersecurity solution at a scale that suits their business, meaning they’re protected no matter their size. For a tailored approach to protecting your business, email us at  

The information in this blog has been taken from SonicWall’s  mid year cyber threat report: 

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