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New BlackBerry Threat Report Reveals 70% Surge in Novel Malware Attacks

The latest edition of the BlackBerry Quarterly Global Threat Intelligence Report reveals a major surge in novel malware-based cyberattacks, citing a 70% increase in three months — and a nearly tripling in frequency over the last year.

BlackBerry’s Cylance AI-powered cybersecurity solutions tracked 2.9 unique malware attacks per minute during the quarter covered in the report (June 2023 to August 2023), up from 1.7 unique attacks during the previous quarter. The report goes on to state that Cylance® AI stopped 3.3 million cyberattacks, equating to 26 attacks per minute and a significant increase.  

“Malicious actors are working harder than ever on diversifying the range and increasing the volume of attacks to bypass defensive controls,” says BlackBerry Vice President of Threat Research and Intelligence Ismael Valenzuela. “The greater number of novel attacks targeting a country or sector reveals the high-value targets that exist there to make it worthwhile. However, while threats are increasing in volume and diversity, so is our ability to avert them across all sectors and industries with predictive, preventative technologies.”

The new BlackBerry report, an important resource for cybersecurity professionals and IT decision-makers, is now available for immediate download

Focus on Ransomware

The report reveals that ransomware threat actors are well aware that most organizations have improved their data backup strategies, and have changed their tactics to address this defensive trend. As a result, a technique called “double extortion” is fast becoming the norm. This means that the ransomware encrypts files while simultaneously exfiltrating data from the impacted organizations; the ransomware operator then threatens to publish the data on the dark web if a ransom is not paid. Threat groups like LockBit, Cl0p, Cuba, and ALPHV increasingly employ these methods to increase their odds of getting paid. 

It is also becoming increasingly common to see reports of triple or even “quadruple-extortion” attacks, where additional threats, such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, are added to increase pressure on the victims.

Most-Attacked Sectors

Among the more troubling highlights of the report is the fact that financial and healthcare industries were found to be the most targeted sectors during the recent quarter. The global financial sector was the most frequently attacked industry, while healthcare institutions experienced a staggering 181% increase in unique malware attacks. 

High-value data and the opportunity to disrupt essential services make these prime target sectors for attacks. With the average cost of a ransomware attack rising to a record $4.45 million in 2023, threat actors focus on industries that seem most susceptible to their profit-driven demands.

The report also finds ransomware attacks are increasing across other industry verticals. This is often linked to an increased volume of critical zero-day attacks, and the fact that these new vulnerabilities often remain unpatched for long periods of time, even after a patch is released.

Download the Quarterly Threat Report

The BlackBerry Quarterly Threat Report uncovers many additional eye-opening facts on today’s cyberthreat landscape. For example, the report reveals that Australia and the United States experienced a greater than 50% increase in public-sector attacks. The report explores the geopolitical influences behind these attacks, along with the most impacted industry verticals.

Download a complimentary copy of the BlackBerry Global Threat Intelligence Report today, and register to attend our Global Threat Intelligence Report webinar on Dec. 6, where you will hear directly from the BlackBerry Threat Research and Intelligence experts responsible for the report.

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Bruce Sussman

About Bruce Sussman

Bruce Sussman is Senior Managing Editor at BlackBerry.