Ransomware attacks broke a two-year record in September of 2020. According to data analyzed by the Atlas VPN team, there were 34.11 million ransomware attacks detected this September — 110% more than the same period last year when 16.21 million attacks were recorded.
The analysis is based on the numbers provided by the SonicWall cybersecurity threat metrics map. It features data gathered in the first nine months of 2020 and the entire year of 2019.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks access to a system, device, or file. To regain access, the victim has to pay a sum of money, or in other words, a ransom.
Overall, there was a 40% rise in ransomware attacks in the first three quarters of 2020 compared to the same period last year. The ransomware attacks grew from 142.39 million in 2019 to 199.75 million in 2020.
While 2019 saw impressive numbers of ransomware attacks, the number of such attacks registered through Q3 2020 is still 6% bigger than the total number of ransomware attacks recorded throughout the entire 2019.
Over a third (34%) of ransomware attacks launched in the first nine months of 2020 were Ryuk attacks — a type of crypto-ransomware that uses encryption to block access to victims’ systems, devices, or files and demands a ransom in Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
In total, there were 67.27 million Ryuk attacks from January through September of 2020. It is over 13 thousand times more compared to the same period last year when 5,094 Ryuk attacks were detected.
September had the record number of Ryuk attacks, a whopping 19.88 million. In contrast to 2020, there were no Ryuk attacks in September of last year.
North America suffers the most from ransomware attacks
Ransomware can be extremely damaging to both individuals and organizations who fall into its traps. While ransomware attacks are prevalent globally, some regions are more affected than others.
The region that got the biggest shares of ransomware attacks through Q3 2020 was North America, receiving close to 76% (151.33 million) worldwide attacks. The number increased by 124% from the same period last year when 67.67 million attacks were registered.
September of this year was a record-breaking month for the US in terms of ransomware attacks. There were 29.34 million ransomware attacks recorded — 180% more than 10.49 million attacks registered last September.
However, the region that saw the most significant surge in ransomware attacks was Asia-Pacific. While there were 1.31 million attacks within the first three quarters of 2019, the number rose by 294% to 5.16 million attacks this year. Ransomware attacks in Asia-Pacific through Q3 2020 make up 3% of total such attacks this year.
In September, countries in the Asia-Pacific region recorded only 380 thousand ransomware attacks. Nevertheless, there was still a 533% increase compared to September last year when 60 thousand attacks were registered.
Finally, ransomware attacks targeting European countries through Q3 2020 make up one-tenth (10%) of total worldwide attacks. However, unlike other countries, European countries saw a 28% drop in ransomware attacks from 26.81 million attacks in the first three quarters of 2019 to 19.23 million in 2020.
September 2020, however, saw an 8% increase in ransomware attacks targeting Europe. There were 3.78 million ransomware attacks registered this September compared to 3.49 million attacks last September.
This indicates that ransomware attack numbers in Europe in 2020 can still surpass last year’s.