Report

2022 BrightCloud® Threat Report: The year of innovation for cybercrime

2022 BrightCloud® Threat Report: The year of innovation for cybercrime
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  • Sr. Security Analyst & Community Manager
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Our latest BrightCloud®️ Threat Report is finally here! This year, our findings show us that cybercriminals are improving their efforts to evade detection. 2021 was the year where everything security-related that could go wrong did go wrong. We witnessed unprecedented attacks on the supply chain around the world. Despite American and Russian coordinated efforts to take down Emotet, REvil, and Conti, cybercriminals found avenues to resurrect themselves and carry out their lethal efforts.

The normalization of remote and hybrid work continued to shift the way bad actors pursue lucrative avenues for exploitation. We also witnessed cybercriminals strategically releasing their executed attacks during specific times of the year.

Our report is full of great insights. Some key findings include:

  • The Middle East, Asia, and Africa were the regions with the highest percentage of infections.
  • 53% of consumer PCs were infected more than once, and 19% infected more than 5 times.
  • Apple was most often impersonated company in phishing attacks.
  • Of all the places where malware could hide on business PCs, it uses %temp% more than half the time.

“With the introduction of Windows 11, bad actors won’t think twice about engaging in new and dangerous exploits that leverage new features not previously available.”

- Grayson Milbourne | Security Intelligence Director

  • During 2021, 82% of ransomware attacks targeted organizations with less than 1,000 employees. The smallest organizations, with 100 employees or less, comprised 44% of ransomware victims.
  • The year-end average for ransomware payments in 2021 more than doubled the 2020 average, hitting $322,168.

By combining layers, like inspecting all incoming emails, keeping PCs fully patched, using antivirus software and endpoint protection tools on all PCs and educating users on how to avoid phishing attacks and other forms of social engineering, you can make it less likely that attacks will succeed.

  • In 2021, we discovered over 4 million new high-risk URLs in 2021, almost 66% of them involved in phishing.
  • Bad actors like to time their phishing attacks. In the month of May alone, we witnessed a 770% increase in phishing activity.

To thwart these types of phishing attacks, users need to be trained to recognize shortened URLs and to find out where they redirect before clicking on them.

Last year was marked by innovation across the threat landscape. In this year’s full report, we delve into the developments affecting businesses large and small.

Download the report and discover for yourself our complete analysis and predictions powered by our BrightCloud®️ Threat Intelligence.

Be sure to sign up for our Webinar to learn more and win prizes

 


114 replies

Unfortunately, supply chain attacks are the ones that give me nightmares and they’re not dwindling. One major attack could put hundreds or thousands of small MSPs out of business in addition to costing their clients loads of grief and money.

These are really surprising Stats: 

  • In 2021, we discovered over 4 million new high-risk URLs in 2021, almost 66% of them involved in phishing.
  • Bad actors like to time their phishing attacks. In the month of May alone, we witnessed a 770% increase in phishing activity.

Unfortunate but not surprising that Africa is up there. As a South African, we hear everyday of newly reported ways that criminals and malicious organisations are securing funding. It is however, a reality everyone is going to face at sometime worldwide. Unfortunately, us cybersecurity specialists aren’t the only ones innovating our industry.

Interesting to see smaller businesses are targeted more compared to larger. I guess it makes sense, larger organisations will have more budget for IT.

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Educating people more. Let others know about Webroot/Bright Cloud and Security Awareness. 

  • In 2021, we discovered over 4 million new high-risk URLs in 2021, almost 66% of them involved in phishing.

Too many new things coming up, we need to stay alert always

“53% of consumer PCs were infected more than once, and 19% infected more than 5 times”

Some people never learn...

Of all the places where malware could hide on business PCs, it uses %temp% more than half the time

 

This is surprising but also not surprising, perhaps it would be a good idea to have like an auto temp folder clear scheduled every time Webroot runs a daily scan, if the threat hasn’t been detected it’s a potential rudimentary failsafe.

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Here is an interesting thought regarding windows 7 and windows 10.

 

“Windows 7 PCs experienced 0.06
infections per PC, and Windows 10 PCs
averaged only 0.03 infections per PC”

 

|Is it the fact that the windows 7 users are looking for “apps” to make their pc faster which get flagged as they are nomally classed as malware? Are non-computer savy users (who havn’t changed their OS in 10 years) and  also have old unupported apps as well with their own vulnerabilities.

In 27 years of IT support business I have not seen the massive “O/S unsupported" spike in infections predicted each time.  However last year I did get a decent answer from a security professional.  He said its the browsers on the old systems.  This makes sense and tied with the DIY nature of a Windows 7 user, thats going to be very dangerous.

BTW:  the most important part of a layered defence is making the main user profile a non-admin.  Cuts out lots of stupid moves from the users and even some convincer remote access frauds, as the users can’t install the remote software they are being told to install.

Very interesting

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It should come as no suprise that ransomware attacks companies with under 1000 employees, they are more vunerable because they may not have the necessary security in place.

In my experience the sell of security to small companies is a lot harder than large and the education is also less.

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No Surprise at all to see Africa there. 

It all boils down to 2 things for me, vigilance and training. People are the weak link in any attack and they will always be. 

This has shown to be true in every attack we have witnessed.

Since formally joining the IT world in the early 80’s I have personally witnessed only a handful of infections. In those days I knew of the existence of two antivirus software applications. For the past 4 years I have satisfactorily and happily been protecting my devices and those of my customers with Webroot  ; )

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“53% of consumer PCs were infected more than once, and 19% infected more than 5 times”

 

More. Than. 5. Times.  This just blows my mind.  Some people just never learn.

I know one happened to a friend of mine. Some people just shouldn’t have a PC. I try to help her but she just don’t listen, I tell her to hover on the email address and not to open it if she doesn’t recognize the address. Well she did and she must of clk’d on something then her computer cashed and then a pop-up with an 800 number for Microsoft which she called then the person who answered told her, that her PC had been hacked. Then he added some one on to the call who was supposed to be with her bank. He also had the last four digits of her account numbers. Glad she called me before transferring any money.

Expected Microsoft to be targeted by phishing more.

Clearly, an educated user is the front line of defense.

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  • During 2021, 82% of ransomware attacks targeted organizations with less than 1,000 employees. The smallest organizations, with 100 employees or less, comprised 44% of ransomware victims.
  • The year-end average for ransomware payments in 2021 more than doubled the 2020 average, hitting $322,168.

The small businesses without large amounts of reserve cash or large IT departments are the easy targets.  Hence the growing numbers.  I shudder.

This is a worrying yet eye opening fact.

“During 2021, 82% of ransomware attacks targeted organizations with less than 1,000 employees. The smallest organizations, with 100 employees or less, comprised 44% of ransomware victims.”

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how antivirus on  phone  zte max 10

Hey @gregkrause have you seen this post?

 

how antivirus on  phone  zte max 10

  • 53% of consumer PCs were infected more than once, and 19% infected more than 5 times.

This surprised me, i would of thought you would learn after the first instance.

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Security awareness, learning is a must! Educate the user and you can reduce a lot of risks  

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It appears that Malware infection is being dropped as an attack vector in favour of the Ransomware - obviously a more lucrative return on their efforts.

 

Where malware is being deployed, the ZeroDay Heuristic scanners are required to identify these increasingly unique apps.

 

 

I strongly agree with this part. With a layered approach and proper user training, it is possible to drastically reduce the chance of attacks being successful.

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