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Previous ransomware records already obliterated in 2021

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Song_about_summer)

In just half a year, the entire ransomware (opens in new tab) volume for 2020 has been met and exceeded, a new report from cybersecurity company SonicWall states. 

According to the report, global ransomware volume hit 304.7 million in the first half of 2021, surpassing last year's full total of 304.6 million.

Following in the footsteps of April and May, June was also a record-breaking month in terms of ransomware (opens in new tab) volume. In June 2021 alone, SonicWall recorded 78.4 million ransomware attacks, with “massive” year-to-date spikes in the US (185 percent) and the UK (144 percent). Germany, South Africa and Brazil all recorded massive volumes of attacks.

Most of the time, the malicious actors targeted government (917 percent increase), education (615 percent), healthcare (594 percent) and retail (264 percent). Ryuk, Cerber and SamSam were the three most common families, making up almost two-thirds (64 percent) of all recorded ransomware attacks.

However, malicious actors also came up with new tools. SonicWall says it identified “record numbers” of never-before-seen malware, up 54 percent year-to-date.

“This latest data shows that sophisticated threat actors are tirelessly adapting their tactics and embracing ransomware to reap financial gain and sow discord,” said SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner. 

“With remote working still widespread, businesses continue to be highly exposed to risk, and criminals are acutely aware of uncertainty across the cyber landscape. It’s crucial that organizations move toward a modern Boundless Cybersecurity approach to protect against both known and unknown threats, particularly when everyone is more remote, more mobile and less secure than ever.”

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.