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SonicWall: Latin America and Asia See Cyber Threat Rise as Criminals Seek ‘Lightest’ Repercussions

Cyberattack intelligence and ransomware data firm SonicWall has published its ‘2023 SonicWall Mid-Year Cyber Threat Report’, highlighting the latest trends in global fraud attempts.

The bi-annual cyber threat report by SonicWall highlights evolving tactical behaviours from digital threat actors as they opt for different types of malicious attacks compared to past activity.

Despite a decline in global ransomware attempts (-41 per cent), a variety of other attacks trended up globally, including cryptojacking (+399 per cent), IoT malware (+37 per cent) and encrypted threats (+22 per cent).

Bobby Cornwell
Bobby Cornwell,VP of product security at SonicWall

“SonicWall intelligence suggests that bad actors are pivoting to lower-cost, less risky attack methods with potentially high returns, like cryptojacking,” explained Bobby Cornwell, VP of product security at SonicWall.

“It also explains the reason we’re seeing higher levels of cybercrime in regions like Latin America and Asia. Hackers search for the weakest points of entry, with the lightest possible repercussions, limiting their risk and maximising their potential profits.”

The report also highlights that fraudsters are using increasingly advanced tools and tactics to exploit and extort victims. While ransomware continues to be a threat, SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers revealed they expect more state-sponsored activity targeting a broader set of victims in 2023, including SMBs, government entities and enterprises.

While several industries followed the global trend of ransomware volume decline, they saw a huge growth in cryptojacking attacks: education (+320x), government (+89x) and healthcare (+69x).

Threat actors “are more opportunistic than ever”
Bob VanKirk
Bob VanKirk, president and CEO of SonicWall

Bob VanKirk, president and CEO of SonicWall, discussed the report: “The seemingly endless digital assault on enterprises, governments and global citizens is intensifying, and the threat landscape continues to expand.

“Threat actors are relentless, and our data indicates they are more opportunistic than ever, targeting schools, state and local governments, and retail organisations at unprecedented rates. The 2023 SonicWall Mid-Year Cyber Threat Report helps us better understand the mindset and criminal behaviour that will, in turn, help SonicWall create the right countermeasures, and help organisations protect themselves by being better prepared and build stronger defenses against malicious activities.”

Global cyber threat trends

The 2023 Mid-Year SonicWall Cyber Threat Report provides insight on a range of cyber threats, including malware, ransomware, IoT malware and encrypted threats.

In total, global malware volume dipped slightly by two per cent in the first half of 2023. The US and the UK saw the biggest declines in this area, with a 14 per cent decline and a seven per cent decline respectively.

However, malware numbers climbed in every other tracked region. Europe saw an 11 per cent increase, while Latin America malware rose by 19 per cent. SonicWall suggests that these findings highlight a geo-migration of threat actor behaviour as they move from targeting traditional hotspots to more opportunistic locations.

Meanwhile, overall ransomware numbers saw a -41 per cent decline globally. However, Q2 suggests a potential rebound, as it spiked 73.7 per cent when compared to Q1. Some countries still felt the sting of ransomware attacks as Germany increased by 52 per cent and India spiked by 133 per cent.

The global volume of IoT malware rose by 27 per cent, totalling over 77 million hits by the end of June. As connected devices continue to rapidly multiply, bad actors are targeting weak points of entry as potential attack vectors into organisations.

Finally, yet another quieter approach embraced by bad actors in the last six months was encrypted threats, which climbed by 22 per cent globally.


  • Tom joined The Fintech Times in 2022 as part of the operations team; later joining the editorial team as a journalist.

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