The rise of digital pandemic: report

As the pandemic continues to rage on, cybersecurity professionals have begun noting that it has already spread to the online world. The new term to describe the current digital landscape is referred to as “digital pandemic,” as it forces businesses to shut down their operations, lock down their systems, or fight off “infections” - sometimes, with limited success.

Orange Cyberdefence, one of Europe’s leading cybersecurity services providers, released its Security Navigator 2022 - a report featuring research, insights, and expert opinion on cybersecurity and new emerging threats.

According to the report, there were 94,806 total attacks in 2021, which rose from the value of 45,398 in 2020. Per month, that amounted to 42 incidents in comparison to 37 in 2020. Detected threats included, among others, malware, network anomalies (such as tunneling), account anomalies (such as brute force attacks), and social engineering attacks (such as phishing.)

In 2021, small businesses have experienced 17% of all reported cases and cited them as: malware (35%), network & application anomalies (29%), and account anomalies (14%). Orange Cyberdefence notes that they have witnessed a consistent rise in malware attacks across small businesses over the years, with an annual increase of around 10%. Furthermore, while usually, the number of incidents increases proportionally to the size of a business, this year, small organizations recorded 38% more malware attacks than medium-sized businesses. It is important to highlight that there might be many reasons for such results, including small businesses having less financial resources to invest in robust cybersecurity.

Medium-sized businesses experienced 30% of the recorded cases, primarily: network & application anomalies (45%), account anomalies (20%,) and malware (20%). In comparison with small businesses, this category had only 19.69% of confirmed malware incidents, fewer policy violations (1.77% vs 7.42%), and fewer social engineering attacks (2.99% vs 3.48%).

Unsurprisingly, large businesses made up for the biggest proportion of all incidents (53%), but did not experience the same volumes of attacks across all categories. The top three incidents were malware (43.43%), network & application anomalies (14.95%), and account anomalies (10.87%). As we can see, there are significantly fewer network and account anomalies compared to SMEs. However, malware cases doubled for large companies in comparison to the values of 2020. At the same time, the report notes that the number of ransomware attacks experienced by large organizations was the same as those of small businesses - contrary to the popular misconception.

While most enterprises have witnessed a rise in malware incidents, the overall number of such attacks has increased by 18% since 2020. Backdoor malware (which supports remote unauthorized access) was the most popular attack vector (37%), followed by downloader (malware that downloads and executes other malware) (17%), and worm (malware that infects other systems/devices) (16%).

When it comes to specific industries, the report notes the following trends:

  1. Network application was the most common type of attack for the healthcare and social assistance (66%), finance (39%), professional services (35%), real estate (37%), and transportation (40%) industries.
  2. Malware was the most common type of attack for the manufacturing (33%), retail and trade (23%), and accommodation and food (89%) industries.

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