Computer users are up against more than 100 000 malicious websites and 10 000 malicious files daily – and 87% of organisations have experienced an attempted exploit of an already-known, existing vulnerability, while 46% of organisations have had at least one employee download a malicious mobile application.

These are among the findings of Check Point Research’s 2021 Security Report.

Highlights of the report include:

* Cloud adoption races ahead of security: 2020 saw organizations’ digital transformation programs advance by over five years in response to the pandemic, but public cloud security is still a major concern for 75% of enterprises. Also, over 80% of enterprises found their existing security tools don’t work at all or have only limited functions in the cloud, showing that cloud security problems will continue into 2021.

* Remote working is targeted: hackers ramped up ‘thread hijacking’ attacks on remote workers to steal data or infiltrate networks using the Emotet and Qbot trojans, which impacted 24% of organizations globally. Attacks against remote access systems such as RDP and VPN also increased sharply.

* Double-extortion ransomware attacks rise: in Q3 2020, nearly half of all ransomware incidents involved the threat of releasing data stolen from the target organization. On average, a new organization becomes a victim of ransomware every 10 seconds worldwide.

* Attacks on healthcare sector become an epidemic: in Q4 2020, CPR reported that cyber-attacks (especially ransomware attacks) on hospitals had increased by 45% worldwide, because criminals believe they are more likely to meet ransom demands due to the pressures from Covid-19 cases.

* Mobiles are moving targets: 46% of organizations had at least one employee download a malicious mobile application, which threatens their networks and data in 2020. The increased use of mobiles during global lockdowns has also driven growth in banking and information-stealing mobile Trojans.

“Businesses globally surprised themselves with the speed of their digital initiatives in 2020: it’s estimated that digital transformation was advanced by up to seven years. But at the same time, threat actors and cyber criminals also changed their tactics so that they could take advantage of these changes, and the pandemic’s disruption, with surges in attacks across all sectors,” says Dorit Dor, vice-president of products at Check Point Software. “We need to act now to stop this cyber pandemic spreading out of control. Organizations need to vaccinate their hyper-connected networks to prevent these damaging cyber-attacks that cause so much disruption.”

Check Point’s 2021 Security Report is based on data from Check Point’s ThreatCloud intelligence.