Check Point reports 93% surge in smart ransomware attacks over past year

Israel’s Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., a maker of cybersecurity firewalls, said Monday that it is seeing a 93% surge in global ransomware attacks, as large scale, multi-vector attacks that infect multiple components are the “new norm.”

“We’ve seen a 93 percent increase in ransomware attacks, as Gen V attacks are now the new norm,” said Gil Shwed, the founder and CEO of the cybersecurity firm as the company presented its second quarter results.

Generation V attacks, which two years ago were considered rare, have become extremely common today, Shwed said at a press conference in Tel Aviv while presenting the financial results. Gen V attacks are large scale, multi-vector attacks, aimed at infecting a number of components, including networks, the cloud, and all kinds of connected devices.

Over 1,210 organizations globally are impacted weekly by Gen V attacks, Shwed said, with Latin America and Europe seeing the largest increase in these kinds of attacks.

Check Point reported a higher than expected 2% rise in second quarter net profit, and a 4 percent jump in revenue.

Revenue for the quarter was $526 million compared to $506 million in the second quarter of 2020, the company said in a statement, while adjusted earnings per share was $1.61 compared to $1.58 in the second quarter of 2020, a 2% increase year over year.

Analysts had forecast adjusted earnings per share of $1.56 on revenue of $523.8 million, Reuters said.

Check Point Software’s founder Gil Shwed speaking at CyberTech 2017. (Courtesy, Gilad Kavalerchik)

Cybersecurity researchers at the firm found that average number of ransomware attacks each week increased by 20% in the last two months, 41% in the last six months, and 93% in the last 12 months, the statement said.

The recent ransomware attack on the US Colonial Pipeline, which impacted the computerized equipment managing the US oil pipeline system, “is confirmation that the acceleration in sophisticated ransomware attacks is continuing,” Check Point said in the statement. Following this attack, Check Point researchers warned of a new ransomware threat called Triple Extortion.

In the first half of 2021 Israel saw on average 2.5 times more cybersecurity attacks, of all kinds, than the global average, CEO Shwed said at the press conference.

Shwed said Israeli organizations saw an average of 1,000 weekly attacks per organization, in the first half of the year. This is an increase of 76% since the start of the year, compared to 29% increase in the global average, he said.

“If there is a weakness, the attackers will probably find it,” so it is worthwhile to weed it out quickly, he said. In the past 12 months, ransomware attacks have targeted more than 300 Israeli organizations. Some of them were criminal attacks, Shwed said, others were by Iranian perpetrators.

Brandon Wales, executive director at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the US Department of Homeland Security, recently said in an interview with The Times of Israel that hackers gotten bolder and more sophisticated, and companies should not give in to ransomware attacks.

The growth of these attacks, Wales said in the interview, “has been fueled by the success of the business model. People have continued to pay, and that has emboldened the ransomware operators, and every ransom that is paid is money that has fueled the epidemic.”

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