Cyberattacks per week rose by 50% in 2021. A large part of this increase was due to the Log4J exploit.

Check Point Research found that Africa was the most affected, with an average of 1.582 per week per organization. Here are some ways to counter the recent surge in attacks.

Image: seksan Mongkhonkhamsao/Moment/Getty Images

In 2021, cybercriminals enjoyed a record year. This is good news but bad news to their victims. The 2021 total was the Cyberattacks on corporate networks have risen by 50%Check Point Research, a provider of cyber threat intelligence, stated that they have seen an increase in the number of incidents over the last year.

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The year ended with a particularly difficult fourth quarter, which saw an all time high of 925 cyberattacks per organization. According to Check Point this capper was due in large parts to the Log4J flaw. Apache’s flaw has been widely known since December. Log4jUtility has led hackers to scan unpatched systems for vulnerabilities that they can remotely exploit to run malicious code and gain control of the computers.

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Image by Check Point Research

The education/research industry was the most affected by cyberattacks in 2021. There were an average of 1,605 attacks per organization per week for this sector, which is 75% more than 2020. Next was the government/military sector, which saw 1,136 attacks per week. This is a 57% increase over the previous year. The communications industry was third with 1,079 attacks each organization per week, an increase of 51%.

Africa was the hardest hit region in the world with an average of 1,582 attacks per semaine per organization. APAC (Asia-Pacific), which averaged 1,353 weekly attackers per organization, was second. Latin America had 1,118 weekly attacks, Europe had 670 weekly attacks, and North America had an average of 503 weekly attackers per organization.

Omer Dembinsky, Check Point Software’s data research manager, stated that hackers “keep innovating.” Hackers have found new ways to penetrate systems and use evasion techniques to carry out their malicious purposes. Most alarming of all, we are seeing key societal industries rise to the top of the most-attacked lists. The list includes the top five most-attacked industries, including healthcare, education and government. I anticipate these numbers to rise going into 2022 because hackers will continue innovating and finding new ways to execute cyberattacks (especially ransomware).

Check Point has the following tips to help protect your company from cyberattacks:

  1. Patch. Networks are often hacked by attackers who exploit known security flaws that have yet to be patched. Make sure that all software and systems are updated with the most recent critical security patches.
  2. Segment. To prevent malware from traversing your network, you should segment your networks and use strong firewall and intrusion prevention safeguards to protect them.
  3. Educate employees. Users can be proactive and prevent attacks before they happen. Make sure your users are aware of how to report suspicious and malicious behavior to IT personnel or to help desk.
  4. Secure your home with advanced security measures. One technology cannot protect your company from all types of threats. Instead, you should consider several key technologies like machine learning, anomaly detection, sandboxing and content disarmament. Two of the most important factors that can make a difference are threat extraction (file sanitation) and threat emulation, which is advanced sandboxing. Each of these provides strong protection. These provide a complete way to defeat unknown malware on both the network and endpoint levels.

Dembinsky stated that “We are in a cyber-pandemic, if I may.” Dembinsky stated, “I urge everyone, particularly those working in education, government, and healthcare, to learn how to protect yourself.” It is possible to make the world safer by taking simple measures like patching, segmenting and educating your employees.

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