Check Point Research Unveils Alarming 8% Rise in Global Cyberattacks Amidst Rising Ransomware Threats in 2023 Mid-Year Security Report

The 2023 Mid-Year Security Report from Check Point Research reveals an alarming 8% surge in global cyberattacks, paired with a rising ransomware threat that has witnessed evolving tactics and the emergence of new threat groups. The report underscores the urgency for organizations to adopt proactive cyber resiliency strategies and advanced security technologies to defend against the evolving threat landscape.

24 August 2023 – Check Point Research (CPR), the Threat Intelligence arm of Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), a leading global provider of cyber security solutions, has released its highly anticipated 2023 Mid-Year Security Report. The report reveals a concerning 8% upsurge in global weekly cyberattacks during the second quarter, representing the most significant increase in two years. This alarming trend underscores how threat actors are ingeniously blending advanced AI technologies with traditional tools such as USB devices to execute disruptive cyberattacks. Moreover, the report sheds light on the escalating ransomware landscape, with new ransomware groups emerging onto the scene.

The 2023 Mid-Year Security Report from Check Point Research provides key insights into the evolving cyber threat landscape:

  1. Ransomware Evolution: Ransomware groups have escalated their activities by exploiting vulnerabilities in widely-used corporate software. These groups have transitioned from merely encrypting data to also exfiltrating it.
  2. USB Device Threat: USB devices have resurfaced as potent threats, with both state-affiliated entities and cybercriminals leveraging USB drives to infiltrate organizations across the globe.
  3. Hacktivism on the Rise: Politically motivated groups are on the rise, launching targeted attacks with hacktivist intentions.
  4. Artificial Intelligence Misuse: The misuse of artificial intelligence has gained momentum, with generative AI tools being employed to create phishing emails, keystroke-monitoring malware, and rudimentary ransomware code. This calls for more robust regulatory measures.

The report highlights that 48 ransomware groups have breached over 2,200 victims in the first half of 2023. Among them, Lockbit3 stands out with a 20% increase in victims compared to H1 2022. New groups like Royal and Play have emerged following the termination of Hive and Conti Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) groups. Geographically, the US constitutes 45% of victims, with a surprising rise in Russian targets due to the novel actor “MalasLocker,” substituting ransom demands with charitable donations. The manufacturing and retail sectors have been heavily impacted, suggesting a shift in ransomware tactics.

Maya Horowitz, VP Research at Check Point Software, commented, “Criminal activities have surged in H1 2023, witnessing an 8% rise in global weekly cyberattacks during the second quarter, marking the highest volume in two years. Threat actors are adapting their methods and tools, even reviving legacy technology like USB storage devices to spread malware.”

Horowitz emphasized the necessity for organizations to establish a cyber resiliency strategy and reinforce their defenses with a prevention-focused, integrated approach to cybersecurity. She stressed that while cyberattacks are inevitable, proactive measures and appropriate security technologies can substantially mitigate their impact.

The 2023 Mid-Year Security Report provides a comprehensive analysis of the cyber-threat landscape, drawing insights from the Check Point ThreatCloud Cyber-Threat Map. This map examines the key tactics employed by cybercriminals in executing their attacks.

Author: Terry KS

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