Trend Micro Incorporated’s threat intelligence infrastructure, Smart Protection Network (SPN), stopped 94.2 billion cyber-threats heading for consumer, government and business customers globally in 2021, representing a 42 percent increase on the number of detections recorded in 2020.

The firm reveals that attacks surged by over 53 billion in 2H21 after it blocked 41 billion threats in 1H21.

In Malaysia, Trend Micro blocked 478 million total attacks in 2021, a 12 percent increase year-on-year from 2020. Attacks in the country escalated by over 247 million in 2H21, up 6 percent from 1H21.

“The number of detected malware surged by 103 percent from 2020 to over 14 million, likely due to threat actors taking advantage of the rise in online consumption during prolonged lockdowns and work-from-home arrangements brought on by the pandemic,” Trend Micro said in a statement.

The global threats were detected by more than five trillion threat queries, a 36 percent year-on-year rise from queries in 2020. Trend Micro’s SPN leverages over 250 million sensors across the broadest attack surface globally to protect organisations and individuals.

Goh Chee Hoh, MD, Trend Micro Malaysia & Nascent Countries

“Trend Micro detects threats across endpoints, mobile, servers, IoT/IIoT, home networks, messaging, network, web and cloud environments,” said Goh Chee Hoh, managing director of Trend Micro Malaysia and Nascent Countries. “That’s a testament to our continuous effort to expand attack surface protections and improve our advanced detection technologies deployed to 500,000 commercial and government accounts and millions of consumer customers. But it also underscores the mounting threat from bad actors, as outlined in our 2022 predictions report.”

Despite a double-digit surge in detected cyber-threats from 2020 to 2021, Trend Micro blocked 66 percent fewer ransomware attacks over the period, reinforcing the theory that these threats are becoming more targeted.

Another contributing factor in this decrease is that more ransomware attacks are being blocked in earlier stages before being deployed. Over 14 million attacks were proactively stopped in 2021 before they could impact customers.

This trend was similarly reflected in Malaysia where a 42 percent decrease in the number of ransomware attacks was detected in the corresponding period, from 177,339 to 102,687. As ransomware operators continue to evolve their tactics to become highly-targeted and sophisticated – using double-extortion and multilevel extortion techniques to yield ransom demands – the need for local enterprises to adopt threat intelligence solutions that provide multilayered protection and behavior detection is ever-more important.

Trend Micro noted that security teams must be prepared for another onslaught of threats in 2022. It predicts that IoT systems, global supply chains, cloud environments and DevOps functions will come under increasing scrutiny from attackers over the coming year.

“Enhanced risk-based patching, XDR, server hardening, Zero Trust, network monitoring and DevSecOps practices will be critical to prevent spiraling cyber risk in 2022,” Trend Micro said.

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