Cybersecurity firm Trend Micro on Wednesday said it detected 119,000 cyber threats per minute in 2020, leading it to block 62.6 billion threats last year.

Email-borne threats made up 91 per cent of the 62.6 billion threats blocked last year, indicating that phishing attacks continued to be hugely popular.

The company detected nearly 14 million unique phishing URLs in 2020 as attackers targeted distracted home workers.

Home networks were a major draw last year for cybercriminals looking to pivot to corporate systems, or compromise and conscript IoT (Internet of Things) devices into botnets, said a report titled “A Constant State of Flux: Trend Micro 2020 Annual Cybersecurity Report.”

Trend Micro found attacks on homes surged 210 per cent to reach nearly 2.9 billion and the vast majority of attacks on home networks involved brute forcing logins to gain control of a router or smart device.

“In 2020, businesses faced unprecedented threat volumes hitting their extended infrastructure, including the networks of home workers,” Jon Clay, Director of Global Threat Communications for Trend Micro, said in a statement.

“Familiar tactics such as phishing, brute forcing and vulnerability exploitation are still favoured as the primary means of compromise, which should help when developing defenses.”

Newly detected ransomware families increased 34 per cent, with “double extortion” attacks — where attackers steal data before encrypting it to force payment by threatening to release the stolen information — and more targeted threats becoming increasingly popular.

Government, banking, manufacturing and healthcare were the most targeted sectors, said the report.



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