An 8% Spike In Cyber Attacks

The research unit of leading provider of cyber security solutions globally, Check Point has released its 2023 Mid-Year Security Report.

The report uncovers a worrisome 8% surge in global weekly cyberattacks in the second quarter, the most significant increase in two years, highlighting how attackers have cunningly combined next generation AI technologies with long-established tools like USB devices to conduct disruptive cyber attacks.

The report also illuminates how ransomware attacks have escalated in the first half of the year with new ransomware groups coming onto the scene. From the attack on the Univerity of Manchester to the rise of new group Anonymous Sudan targeting western organisations, the 2023 Mid-Year Report uncovers the trends and behaviours that have defined the year so far.

Key insights from the 2023 Mid-Year Security Report include:

  • Ransomware groups have stepped up their game, exploiting vulnerabilities in commonly used corporate software and shifting their approach from data encryption to data theft.
  • USB Devices have resurfaced as significant threats, with both state-affiliated groups and cybercriminals deploying USB drives as vectors for infecting organisations globally.
  • Hacktivism has seen a rise, with politically motivated groups launching attacks on selected targets.
  • Artificial Intelligence misuse has amplified, with generative AI tools being used to craft phishing emails, keystroke monitoring malware, and basic ransomware code, calling for stronger regulatory measures.

In H1 2023, 48 ransomware groups have breached over 2,200 victims, with Lockbit3 being the most active, reporting a 20% increase in victims compared to H1 2022. The emergence of new groups like Royal and Play is associated with the termination of Hive and Conti Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) groups.

In terms of geography, 45% of victims are in the US, with an unexpected rise in Russian entities due to a new malicious actor, Malas Locker, which substitutes ransom demands with charitable donations. The manufacturing and retail sectors have seen the most victims, suggesting a shift in ransomware attack strategy.

“Criminal activities have continued to rise in the first half of the year, with an 8% surge in global weekly cyberattacks in the second quarter marking the highest volume in two years... Familiar threats such as ransomware and hacktivism have evolved further, with threat groups modifying their methods and tools to infect and affect organisations worldwide. Even legacy technology such as USB storage devices, which have long been gathering dust in desk drawers, have gained popularity as a malware messenger.” said Maya Horowitz, VP Research at Check Point.

The 2023 Mid-Year Security Report provides a comprehensive account of the cyber-threat landscape. The findings are based on data drawn from the Check Point ThreatCloud cyber threat map, which looks at the key tactics cyber criminals use to carry out their attacks.

In general, the Report highlights the need for organisations to build a cyber resiliency strategy and strengthen their defenses by adopting a prevention-first, integrated approach to cyber security.

 2023 Mid-Year Cyber Security Report:   Checkpoint

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