Cybercriminals target retail with 264% surge in attacks

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Cybercriminals have targeted the retail sector over the past 12 months, with a 264% surge in ransomware attacks on ecommerce and online retail businesses.

The figures from SonicWall’s biannual report revealed that cyber attacks and IT security threats have surged over the past year, with more than 625 million digital assaults taking place throughout 2021; more than double the amount seen the year before.

A record 97.1m cryptojacking attacks took place in 2021, with a 33% increase across the retail sector. A sustained increase can also be seen across nearly all types of malicious digital assault, including ransomware, encrypted threats and IoT malware.

The global report revealed that the UK market was seen as particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks, which typically hit supply chains and cause widespread system downtime, economic loss and reputational damage. Ransomware attacks in the UK increased by 227% overall; of those, one in every five attacks was targeted at an online retail business (21%).

Read more: Spar forced to close shops after cyber attack

In recent months, a number of high-profile UK businesses have been forced to temporarily close following a digital attack.

“Cyberattacks become more attractive and potentially more disastrous as dependence on information technology increases,” said SonicWall president Bill Conner.

“Securing information in a boundless world is a near impossible and thankless job, especially as the boundaries of organisations are ever-expanding to limitless endpoints and networks.”

SonicWall’s VP of platform architecture Dmitriy Ayrapetov added:  “Attacks on networks rose to a fever pitch in 2021. Ransomware, cryptojacking, vulnerably exploitation, phishing and other attacks continue to plague organisations around the world and overwhelm security teams.

“It’s important to understand the breakdown of these attacks and why they continue to be successful, as well as the drivers and trends behind them.”

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