There’s good news and bad news on the cybercrime front: Chain Store Age reported that, while malware attacks have declined, ransomware and IoT threats are on the rise.
According to the “2017 SonicWall Annual Threat Report,” merchants have become more diligent in protecting themselves and their customers against cybercrimes, but that hasn’t stopped these criminals from finding new — and often more effective — ways of carrying out attacks.
The report, which is compiled from data collected throughout 2016 by the SonicWall Global Response Intelligence Defense (GRID) Threat Network, found that total malware attack attempts dropped for the first time in years to 7.87 billion from 8.19 billion in 2015, with point-of-sale (POS) malware attacks declining by 93 percent from 2014 to 2016.
The decline is largely due to retailers taking stronger security measures, such as the implementation of chip-based POS systems, usage of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) checklist and more. Many merchants have also implemented Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) encryption, which increased encrypted traffic by 34 percent.
Unfortunately, these measures haven’t deterred criminals from finding new ways to hack into systems. The report also found that cybercriminals got the quickest payoffs from ransomware usage, with attacks increasing from 3.8 million in 2015 to a whopping 638 million in 2016. Ransomware-as-a-Service is becoming the cybercrime of choice since it’s easier to obtain and deploy, and there’s less of a chance of getting caught.
In addition, IoT devices are also becoming more popular, In fact, gaps in IoT security allowed hackers to launch the largest distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack in history last October, taking down some of the most popular sites on the web, including Netflix, Twitter, Spotify, Reddit, CNN, PayPal and Pinterest, as well as newspapers, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
“It would be inaccurate to say the threat landscape either diminished or expanded in 2016 — rather, it appears to have evolved and shifted,” said Bill Conner, president and CEO of SonicWall. “Cybersecurity is not a battle of attrition; it’s an arms race, and both sides are proving exceptionally capable and innovative.”