Cyberattacks on businesses saw a huge rise in 2021

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Businesses faced more cyberattacks (opens in new tab) than ever before in 2021 with new data from Check Point Research (opens in new tab) revealing that corporate networks saw 50 percent more attacks per week when compared to the previous year.

Back in October of last year, the cybersecurity firm reported a 40 percent increase in cyberattacks globally with one out of every 61 organizations worldwide impacted by ransomware (opens in new tab) each week.

Now though in a new report (opens in new tab), Check Point Research has highlighted the fact that from mid-2020 throughout 2021, there has been an upwards trend in the number of cyberattacks. While the trend increased during this entire time period, it reached an all-time high at the end of the year with a peak of 925 cyberattacks a week per organization globally.

Data research manager at Check Point Research, Omer Dembinsky explained in a press release that the Log4J vulnerability (opens in new tab) was one of the main drivers behind this increase in cyberattacks at the end of 2021, saying:

“Hackers keep innovating. Last year, we saw a staggering 50% more cyber attacks per week on corporate networks compared to 2020 – that’s a significant increase. We saw cyber attack numbers peak towards the end of the year, largely due to the Log4J vulnerability exploit attempts. I expect these numbers to increase going into 2022, as hackers will continue to innovate and find new methods to execute cyber attacks, especially ransomware. We’re in a cyber pandemic, if you will.”

Industries and locales targeted

Throughout the course of last year, the education/research sector experienced the highest volume of cyberattacks with an average of 1,605 attacks per organizations every week representing a 75 percent increase from 2020.

The government/military sector was the second most targeted industry with 1,136 attacks per week (47% increase) followed by the communications industry which had 1,079 attacks weekly per organization (51% increase).

When it came to the regions hardest hit by cyberattacks in 2021, Africa experienced the highest volume of attacks with an average of 1,582 weekly attacks per organization representing a 13 percent increase from 2020. This was followed by APAC with an average of 1,353 weekly attacks per organization (25% increase), Latin America with 1,118 attacks weekly (38% increase), Europe with 670 attacks weekly (68% increase) and North America with an average of 502 weekly attacks per organization (61% increase).

According to Check Point Research, organizations should use patch management tools (opens in new tab) to ensure their software is up to date, segment their networks and apply strong firewall (opens in new tab) and IPS safeguards between these network segments, educate their employees to recognize potential threats and use machine learning (opens in new tab), sandboxing, anomaly detection and other technologies to protect their networks and data.

We've also highlighted the best firewall (opens in new tab), best malware removal software (opens in new tab) and best antivirus (opens in new tab)

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.