Malware attacks in Canada up 103 per cent over 2018, says SonicWall

Canada faced the second biggest increase in malware attacks last year among customers according to corporate security vendor SonicWall.

Malware attacks detected by those using SonicWall firewalls and other security devices hit 432.2 million, up 103 per cent over 2017, according to a report released Tuesday by the company in its annual cyber threat report.

By comparison, attacks against Brazil were up 119 per cent over the previous year, up 99 per cent in Germany, up 62 per cent in the U.S., 57 per cent in the U.K., and 53 per cent in India.

Of the top targeted countries, the only one where malware attacks dropped was China (down 53 per cent).

The biggest target, again, was the U.S., which saw nearly half of the total malware attacks SonicWall recorded worldwide. Other nations were far behind.

SonicWall graphic

Overall, the volume of malware attacks globally was up in 2018 to around 10.5 billion after holding relatively steady at around 8 billion for the previous three years.

Malware attacks, which were up 22 per cent over 2018, include viruses and trojans. Counted separately are intrusion attempts (3.9 trillion, up 38 per cent), web application attacks (268 million, up 56 per cent) and ransomware attacks (206.5 million, up 11 per cent).

To no surprise, the U.S. was the biggest target of ransomware attacks by volume, with the number of attacks up 62 per cent from 2018. Canada saw ransomware attacks up 360 per cent, followed by Germany (up 206 per cent) and Brazil (up 191 per cent.)

Interestingly, the percentage of ransomware attacks dropped in the U.K. and India over 2017. The report speculates that companies in the U.K. toughened their defences after some 40 hospitals were hit by ransomware in 2017.

However, the report also warns attackers are increasingly going after large corporations with weaker defenses, as well as those with high-value data, such as financial and hospital records.

Additionally, the report notes some companies are falling for fake ransomware attacks. Files aren’t really encrypted — perhaps only the master boot record is corrupted — but a threatening message that the machine(s) have been taken over is enough for some to automatically pay.

The report notes that the use of PDFs and Office files to hide malware is gradually taking over traditional delivery methods like scripts, executables and other miscellaneous files types.

Finally, it notes that 47 per cent of botnets, which are used for denial of service attacks and to send spam and other bad things, are hosted on U.S. servers. That’s an indication of the number of badly secured devices in that country,

Get the full report here. Registration required

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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