FortiGuard Labs reports tenfold increase in global ransomware in June 2021

The average weekly ransomware activity around the globe rose more than tenfold in June 2021 compared to data from the same period in 2020. This was among the findings of the recently released FortiGuard Labs Global Threat Landscape Report, research by digital security vendor Fortinet.

Organizations in the telecom industry were the most heavily targeted by cybercriminals, followed by government agencies, managed security service providers, automotive, and manufacturing. The research also highlighted that ransomware seems to shift away from email-initiated payloads into groups focusing on gaining and selling access into corporate networks.

“Ransomware remains a clear and present danger for all organizations regardless of industry or size. Organizations need to take a proactive approach with real-time endpoint protection, detection, and automated response solutions to secure environments along with a zero-trust access approach, network segmentation, and encryption,” the report stated.

The FortiGuard Labs report also found that one in four organizations detected ‘malvertising’ during the period. Malvertising is noted as scareware attempts—aiming for exploitation and extortion, not just scaring people. Researchers recommend increasing cybersecurity awareness and provision of timely training and education to prevent falling as victims to scareware and malvertising tactics.

Additionally, botnet detections also surged in the period. It is estimated that up to 35%of organizations had detections of botnet activities at the onset of 2021. Six months later, that volume jumped to 51%. TrickBot activity was identified to have caused the spike in botnet activity tracking in June 2021. TrickBot was originally identified as a banking Trojan. It has since been developing into a more sophisticated and multi-stage toolkit that facilitates illicit online activities.

The Global Threat Landscape Report represents the collective intelligence of FortiGuard Labs, which in turn are drawn from Fortinet’s sensors collecting billions of threat events around the world in the first half of 2021. FortiGuard Labs Global Threat Landscape Report describes how threat actors find vulnerabilities, build malicious infrastructure, and exploit targets/victims.