Asia witnessed one out of every four global cyberattacks carried out last year, shows a new IBM report. IBM's annual X-Force Threat Intelligence Index report also claimed that financial services and manufacturing organisations together experienced nearly 60% of these attacks.
Furthermore, for businesses in Europe, Asia and the Middle East and Africa (MEA), ‘unpatched vulnerabilities’ resulted in nearly 50% of attacks in 2021, thus exposing businesses’ biggest struggle — patching vulnerabilities, as per the report.
While phishing was the most common cause of cyberattacks in general, IBM Security X-Force observed a 33% increase in attacks caused by vulnerability exploitation of unpatched software. These unpatched softwares acted as entry points for cybercriminals resulting in 44% of ransomware attacks in 2021.
These apart, 47% of attacks on the manufacturing sector were caused due to vulnerabilities that victim organisations had not yet or could not patch, highlighting the need for organisations to prioritise vulnerability management, the report emphasised.
“Cybercriminals usually chase the money. Now with ransomware, they are chasing leverage,” said Charles Henderson, Head of IBM X-Force.
He further added, “Businesses should recognise that vulnerabilities which are holding them in a deadlock — as ransomware actors use them for their advantage. This is a non-binary challenge.”
Suggesting a need for prompt action against such cyberattacks, Henderson said that the attack surface is only growing larger, so instead of operating under the assumption that every vulnerability in their environment has been patched, businesses should operate under the assumption of compromise, and enhance their vulnerability management.
The report also shed light on how ransomware actors attempted to “fracture” the backbone of global supply chains with attacks on manufacturing, which became 2021's most attacked industry (23%), dethroning financial services and insurance after a long reign.