UK ransomware attacks surged 80% in latest quarter

Check Point's findings show that hackers continue to take advantage of mass remote working

Ransomware attacks in the UK increased by 80% in the last three months as hackers continue to take advantage of mass remote working, according to security researchers at Check Point.

The findings show that the daily global average of ransomware attacks jumped 50% in last 3 months, compared to first half of 2020.

Countries with the most notable increase in ransomware attacks were the US (98.1%), where the most often targeted sector was healthcare, as well as Germany (145%), Spain (160%), and Sri Lanka, which saw attacks skyrocketed by 436%.

The most often used ransomware strains in the last three months were found to be Maze and Ryuk. According to Check Point, the latter now attacks an average of 20 organisations a week. 

Check Point’s head of Threat Intelligence Lotem Finkelsteen said that ransomware is “breaking records in 2020”. 

“The increase in ransomware attacks began with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, as organizations scrambled to enact remote workforces, leaving significant gaps in their IT systems.

"However, the last three months alone have shown alarming surges in ransomware attacks, and I suspect the ransomware threat to get far more worse as we approach the new year,” he said, urging organisations “to be extra vigilant”.

According to Finkelsteen, the most significant drivers behind the recent surge in attacks are the victims’ willingness to pay, as well as the rise in increasingly sophisticated attacks, such as Double Extortion and the Emotet malware, which recently made a comeback after five month of absence.

Last week, the US Treasury warned that companies that agree to hand over cash to hackers to free their systems from ransomware may face prosecution or penalties.

Related Resource

Securing remote work

Safeguarding business continuity

Download now

The advisory cited cyber attacks that were linked to hacking groups from North Korea and Russia, which are both nations sanctioned by the US. The US government often imposes economic and trade sanctions on countries that it deems sponsors terrorism or that violate human rights.

In order to ensure an organisations safety, Check Point’s security researchers recommended taking additional precautions, such as educating employees on how to identify and avoid potential ransomware attacks, ensuring that all systems have the latest patches applied, and maintaining regular backups of data.

Featured Resources

BCDR buyer's guide for MSPs

How to choose a business continuity and disaster recovery solution

Download now

The definitive guide to IT security

Protecting your MSP and your customers

Download now

Cost of a data breach report 2020

Find out what factors help mitigate breach costs

Download now

The complete guide to changing your phone system provider

Optimise your phone system for better business results

Download now

Recommended

Hackers used SonicWall zero-day flaw to plant ransomware
ransomware

Hackers used SonicWall zero-day flaw to plant ransomware

30 Apr 2021
New report highlights the need for diversity in cyber security recruitment
cyber security

New report highlights the need for diversity in cyber security recruitment

28 Apr 2021
How can you protect your business from crypto-ransomware?
Security

How can you protect your business from crypto-ransomware?

20 Apr 2021
Best ransomware removal tools
ransomware

Best ransomware removal tools

9 Apr 2021

Most Popular

KPMG offers staff 'four-day fortnight' in hybrid work plans
flexible working

KPMG offers staff 'four-day fortnight' in hybrid work plans

6 May 2021
16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

29 Apr 2021
How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD
operating systems

How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD

30 Apr 2021