ACRONIS END-OF-YEAR CYBERTHREATS REPORT UNCOVERS 222% SURGE IN EMAIL ATTACKS DURING 2023


Biannual report reveals malware data gathered from July – December; highlights the rise of generative AI systems to create malware and orchestrate attacks

Acronis Cyberthreats Report H2 2024.jpg

Acronis, a global leader in cyber protection, released the findings of its benchmarked cyberthreats report for the second half of 2023. Titled “Acronis Cyberthreats Report, H2 2023: Alarming rise in cyberattacks, SMBs and MSPs in the crosshairs,” the report provides an in-depth analysis and prescriptive outlook on key security issues and prevalent cyberthreats worldwide. By leveraging data collected from over 1,000,000 unique endpoints across 15 key countries, the findings conclude that AI-enhanced phishing affected over 90% of organizations and contributed to a 222% surge in email attacks in 2023 as compared to the second half of 2022.

Ransomware variants and the number of new groups continue to decrease, yet the most renowned families of the attack vector are still causing companies across the globe to lose data and money. The report sheds light on the lack of strong security solutions which should be detecting the exploitation of zero-day vulnerabilities. To add, organizations are falling victim to attacks due to the delay in patching vulnerable software which allows threat actors to gain domain administrative rights, uninstall security tools and infiltrate sensitive information. Behavior-based detection and exploit prevention technology can prevent most of these attacks. This, paired with proper data backup, following the 3-2-1 rule, is necessary to create a last line of defense.

“There’s a disturbing trend being recognized globally where bad actors continue to leverage ChatGPT and similar generative AI systems to increase cyberattack efficiency, create malicious code, and automate attacks,” said Candid Wüest, Acronis VP of Product Management. “Now, more than ever, corporations need to prioritize comprehensive cyber protection solutions to ensure business continuity.”

As a channel-first organization, Acronis’ focus is to protect its dedicated partners, managed service providers (MSPs) and managed security service providers (MSSPs). These IT resources are allies to businesses who seek robust IT infrastructure and sound cybersecurity but because they centralize services to numerous businesses, from SMBs to large corporations; the scaling efficiencies that make them a business asset also make them a single point of failure where cybercriminals can exploit multiple entities through a single attack.

The report notes how more advanced tactics like supply chain attacks, AI-driven attacks and state-sponsored incursions are likely to intensify. MSPs should brace themselves for threats unique to their operations, including "island hopping," in which attackers use an MSP's infrastructure to attack clients, as well as "credential stuffing," which exploits an MSP's broad access to systems. To address this concern, Acronis offers training and certification programs through the MSP Academy for those interested in enhancing their cybersecurity skills and knowledge.

Key findings and themes from the report include:

Global threat landscape

  • Singapore, Spain, and Brazil emerged as the most targeted focus countries for malware attacks in Q4 2023.
  •  Acronis blocked nearly 28 million URLs at the endpoint in Q4 2023, reflecting a 36% decrease compared to Q4 2022.
  • 33.4% of received emails were identified as spam, with 1.5% containing malware or phishing links.
  • The average lifespan of a malware sample in the wild is 2.1 days.
  • In Q4 2023, 1,353 ransomware cases were explicitly mentioned, with notable contributions from LockBit, Play, ALPHV and the active Toufan group.

Cybersecurity trends – from July – December 2023

  • Ransomware remains a major threat to large and medium-sized businesses, impacting critical sectors such as government and health care.
  • Data stealers are the second most prevalent threat, contributing to most data breaches.
  • The use of generative AI systems, including ChatGPT, for launching cyberattacks and creating malicious content is on the rise.

Ransomware Trends

  • Known ransomware gangs in 2023 include LockBit, Cl0P, BlackCat / ALPHV, Play, and 8Base.
  • The ALPHV gang, whom the FBI targeted in December 2023, breached over 1,000 entities, demanded over $500 million, and received over $300 million in ransom payments.
  • Regardless of a decrease in ransomware variants, businesses continue to suffer data and financial losses.

Attacks on MSPs are increasing

  • Attacks on managed service providers (MSPs) continue, with a recent high-profile breach affecting multiple U.S. (United States) government agencies.
  • Microsoft cloud email account vulnerabilities led to the compromise of 60,000 emails from 10 U.S. State Department accounts.

Phishing and email Attacks remain the main vectors of infection

  • The total number of email-based attacks detected in 2023 increased by 222%.
  • Organizations experienced a 54% increase in the number of attacks per organization.
  • 91.1% of organizations faced AI-enhanced phishing attacks.

The AI menace — Cybercriminals embrace malicious AI-based tools for corporate attacks

  • Cybercriminals are leveraging malicious AI tools, including WormGPT, FraudGPT, DarkBERT, DarkBART and ChaosGPT.
  • The public release of ChatGPT has increased the use of generative AI for cyberattacks.

"The Acronis Cyberthreats Report H2 2023 highlights the continued threats faced by businesses of all sizes worldwide,” said Michael Suby, Research VP, IDC. “Unfortunately, bad actors continue to profit from these activities and are leveraging AI-enhanced techniques to create more convincing phishing schemes, guaranteeing that this problem will continue to plague businesses.”

The report is curated by the advanced Acronis Cyber Protection Operation Center (CPOC) and includes data surrounding ransomware threats, phishing, malicious websites, software vulnerabilities and a security forecast for 2024. Released biannually, the Acronis Cyberthreats Report sets the industry standard by consistently establishing itself as a benchmark for cybersecurity intel. By regularly publishing reports to stay abreast of cybersecurity developments, Acronis’ analysis of the global cyberthreat landscape is published for the benefit of its users and partners.

For more information, download a copy of the full Acronis End-of-Year Cyberthreats Report 2023 here: https://go.acronis.com/cyberthreats-2023-h2

To learn more about the report and its findings, visit the Acronis blog post: https://www.acronis.com/en-us/blog/posts/ransomware-and-software-vulnerabilities-created-the-most-havoc-in-h2-2023

Visit www.acronis.com for information about Acronis solutions that help combat security challenges like these – including the new, groundbreaking native integration of Acronis Advanced Security and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions.

About Acronis

Acronis unifies data protection and to deliver integrated, automated cyber protection that solves the safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security (SAPAS) challenges of the modern digital world. With flexible deployment models that fit the demands of service providers and IT professionals, Acronis provides superior cyber protection for data, applications, and systems with innovative next-generation antivirus, disaster recovery, and endpoint protection management solutions powered by AI. With advanced anti-malware powered by cutting-edge machine intelligence and blockchain based data authentication technologies, Acronis protects any environment - from cloud to hybrid to on premises - at a low and predictable cost.

Acronis is a Swiss company, founded in Singapore. Celebrating two decades of innovation, Acronis has 1,800+ employees in 45 locations. Acronis Cyber Protect solution is available in 26 languages in over 150 countries and is used by 20,000+ service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.

  • COMMENTING RULES

    Commenting on www.vagabond.bg

    Vagabond Media Ltd requires you to submit a valid email to comment on www.vagabond.bg to secure that you are not a bot or a spammer. Learn more on how the company manages your personal information on our Privacy Policy. By filling the comment form you declare that you will not use www.vagabond.bg for the purpose of violating the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria. When commenting on www.vagabond.bg please observe some simple rules. You must avoid sexually explicit language and racist, vulgar, religiously intolerant or obscene comments aiming to insult Vagabond Media Ltd, other companies, countries, nationalities, confessions or authors of postings and/or other comments. Do not post spam. Write in English. Unsolicited commercial messages, obscene postings and personal attacks will be removed without notice. The comments will be moderated and may take some time to appear on www.vagabond.bg.

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Discover More

PROFILINK WITH NEW CORPORATE IDENTITY, JOINS LINKIN INDUSTRIAL GROUP
Profilink, one of the most successful manufacturing companies and trade brands in Bulgaria has announced that it has successfully ended a project that lasted for a

WOMEN AT THE TOP
Modern society values success more than many other things. But how can you measure success?

BECOME PART OF DIBLA DESIGN AWARDS
Dibla Design Awards stand out as the event that celebrates the achievements in interior design in Bulgaria. Each year, the ceremony attracts an audience of over 1,200 and is an excellent opportunity for networking in an inviting and inspiring ambiance.

AVISON YOUNG'S OFFICE MARKET REPORT FOR SOFIA IN THE SECOND HALF OF 2023
The actively trading inventory of completed class A&B office space in Sofia tracked by Avison Young Bulgaria is 2.01 million sq.m. Just 10,950 sq. m new office stock were delivered to market during the second half of 2023.

ACRONIS JOINS MICROSOFT INTELLIGENT SECURITY ASSOCIATION (MISA)
MISA members have integrated their solutions with Microsoft security technology to build a better defense against a world of increasing cybersecurity threats. 

ACRONIS RECONFIRMS ITS COMMITMENT TO SUPPORTING LOCAL COMMUNITY IN BULGARIA
When a company is committed to becoming an integral part of the community, it seeks various avenues to contribute. Acronis has actively engaged in developing educational initiatives and supporting learning worldwide.

NEW ACRONIS CYBERAPP STANDARD ACCELERATES ECOSYSTEM GROWTH AND PARTNER SUCCESS
Acronis, the global leader in cyber protection, today announced the

THE OFFICE PROPERTY MARKET IN BULGARIA IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2023
What are the objective stats and figures about the condition and near future of the office property market in Bulgaria?

DIGITAL CLEANLINESS, NATURE CLEANLINESS BY ACRONIS
September 2023 was designated by the Acronis team in Sofia to be a month dedicated to cleaning our favorite natural sites, which are valuable to Bulgarian society.