Organisations in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and other parts of Africa recorded the highest volume of cyber attacks in 2021, with an average of 1,615 weekly breaches.
CheckPoint Software Technologies, which disclosed this, said it represented a 15 per cent increase from 2020. In second place is Asia Pacific (APAC) with an average of 1,299 weekly attacks per organisation (20 per cent increase), followed by Latin America with an average of 1,117 attacks weekly (37 per cent increase), Europe with 665 (65 per cent increase) and North America with 497 (57 per cent increase).
Globally, it disclosed that 2021 recorded a record-breaking number of cyber attacks, with a 50 per cent increase in overall attacks per week on corporate networks compared to the year before.
According to CheckPoint, a cybersecurity solution provider, the sectors, which experienced the highest volumes of attacks were Education/Research with an average of 1,468 attacks per organisation, each week (increase of 60 per cent from 2020), followed by Government/Military with 1,082 (40 per cent increase) and Healthcare with 752 (55 per cent increase).
It disclosed that one of the major attacks launched in the course of the year was botnet. CheckPoint said botnet is a network of malware-infected computers that can be wholly-controlled by a single command and control centre operated by a cybercriminal. It stressed that the network itself, which can be composed of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of computers, is then used to further spread the malware and increase the size of the network.
“The malware type that impacts organisations the most in 2021 is the botnet with an average of over eight per cent organisations being impacted weekly (a nine per cent decrease from 2020), followed by banking malware at 4.6 per cent (a 26 per cent increase) and cryptominer at 4.2 per cent (a 22 per cent decrease), ransomware 1.9 per cent and mobile 1.2 per cent,” it stated.
CheckPoint claimed that the increase in 2021 of multi-vector attacks designed to infect multiple components of an IT infrastructure, is alarming, adding that such attacks are the biggest challenge facing security practitioners, requiring effective measures to be put in place.
The company said it is critical to prevent attacks before they happen, by employing a security architecture that enables and facilitates a single, cohesive protection infrastructure.
Also, all attack surfaces and vectors in the business must be secured via a single solution that provides broad cyber security coverage, particularly in today’s multi-hybrid environment where the perimeter is now everywhere.
CheckPoint also advised organisations to segment their networks, and apply strong firewall and intrusion prevention safeguards between the network segments. This contains infections from propagating across the entire network.
“While there isn’t a single silver-bullet technology that can protect organisations from all threats and all threat vectors, there are many great technologies available, such as machine learning, sandboxing, anomaly detection, content disarmament, and many more. Each of these technologies can be highly effective in specific scenarios, covering specific file types or attack vectors,” the company stated.
According to it, two key components to consider are threat extraction (file sanitisation) and threat emulation (advanced sandboxing). It stressed that each element provides distinct protection, and when used together they offer a comprehensive solution for protection against unknown malware at the network level and directly on endpoint devices.