With the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating remote work, cybercriminals have increased opportunistic targeting. In 2020, such attacks rose 300% compared to 2019, according to a new report from technology services company NTT.
While most cyberattacks have a particular target, opportunistic attacks are referred to breaches where hackers do not target anyone in particular. These criminals are on the prowl for a weakness or a vulnerability and mount an attack on the victim at an opportune moment.
“Last year we predicted a surge in targeted, opportunistic attacks and unfortunately, this has proven all-too-true,” Kazu Yozawa, CEO of NTT’s Security division.
In terms of the top three industries, manufacturing saw a 300% increase from 2019, while healthcare and finance noticed a 200% and 53% increase respectively, according to data from 2020, published in the 2021 Global Threat Intelligence report by NTT.
The study also showed that about 50% of organisations globally are prioritizing securing their cloud services.
As companies push for more remote access, application-specific and web application attacks have increased. These breaches now account for 67% of all attacks, which has more than doubled over the past two years.
Healthcare has been the prime victim of these attacks due to its shift towards telehealth and remote care. About 97% of all hostile activity targeted at healthcare have been web-application or application-specific attacks.
In terms of malware, cryptominers looking to hack cryptocurrencies accounted for a staggering 41% of all detected malware in 2020, followed by Trojans at 26% and Worms at 10%. Ransomware accounted for 6%. A specific malware called the XMRig coinminer was the most common variant, accounting for 82% of all coinminer activities.
“As we enter a more stable phase of the pandemic, organizations and individuals alike must prioritize cybersecurity hygiene across all industries, including the supply chain,” Mark Thomas, head of NTT’s Global Threat Intelligence Center, said.
The threat report gathered data from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, and the analysis was based on log, event, attack, incident and vulnerability data from clients and the company’s honeypot network. NTT commissioned Jigsaw Research to conduct the research. Some 15 countries participated in the research, with six from Asia Pacific region including China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.