The world is facing a 'global cybercrime pandemic'

representational image of a cloud firewall
(Image credit: Pixabay)

The world is facing a cybercrime pandemic, a new report on the Covid-19 security landscape suggests.

According to research from security firm Check Point, more than 100,000 malicious websites are currently active each day, as well as 10,000 different malware (opens in new tab) strains. 

On average, a new organization falls victim to a ransomware (opens in new tab) attack every ten seconds, while almost half of organizations (46%) have had at least one employee download a malicious app onto their smartphone (opens in new tab), tablet (opens in new tab) or laptop (opens in new tab).

Cyber and physical threats are also merging at an accelerated pace, the report further states, with monthly cyberattacks on healthcare organizations jumping by more than a third (37%) since the pandemic began, disrupting treatment for many.

Cloud security as an afterthought

Lockdowns across the globe have forced many people indoors and organizations to transition to a remote working (opens in new tab) model. In a bid to navigate this “new normal”, many businesses raced to adopt cloud (opens in new tab) solutions, with cybersecurity often an afterthought. For the vast majority of businesses (80%), security tools don’t even work (or have limited functions) in the cloud.

Criminals are targeting remote workers with Emotet and Qbot trojans, impacting almost a quarter (24%) of all organizations worldwide.

Further, since many businesses began backing up their data to head off ransomware attacks, criminals have pivoted to double-extortion. In this scenario, files are not just encrypted but also exfiltrated, to be used as leverage should the business fail to pay the ransom. This way, businesses not only face the threat of downtime, but also fines and lawsuits that might arise as a result of a leak.

“We need to act now to stop this cyber pandemic spreading out of control,” said Dorit Dor, VP of Products at Check Point Software. “Organizations need to vaccinate their hyper-connected networks to prevent these damaging cyber-attacks that cause so much disruption.”

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.