Study: 300% Escalation in Cyberattacks, Primarily Healthcare and Manufacturing


NTT has recently dropped its Global Threat Intelligence Report (GITR) for 2021. The cybersecurity report shows that hackers are taking leverage of the global disturbance caused by the pandemic. These hackers are targeting essential industries and common vulnerabilities due to the switch of industries to remote working. Industries like finance, manufacturing, and healthcare witnessed a growth of 53%, 300%, and 200% in cyberattacks respectively.

62% of all the attacks that took place in 2020 were based on the three above-mentioned industries. As organizations are dedicated towards offering remote access to employees, cyberattacks have increased drastically.

The Healthcare industry suffered the most in these cyberattacks due to its shift to telehealth and remote care. 97% of all hostile activity targeted the industry via application-specific and web application attacks.

Cybersecurity Maturity Scores

The Global Threat Intelligence Report by NTT gives a Cybersecurity Advisory that works as a deciding factor for the maturity score of an industry’s cybersecurity program. A high maturity score refers to a strong plan of action and vice versa.

Healthcare and manufacturing industries have a low maturity score of 1.02 and 1.21 respectively. As compared to the 2019’s score of both the mentioned industries, a decrease of 0.10 in healthcare and 0.11 in manufacturing industries is clearly visible in the reports. However, the finance industry has managed to stay the safest with a maturity score of 1.82 that is a decrease of 0.02 only as compared to 2019’s score.

CEO’s Take

CEO of NTT’s security division, Kazu Yozawa, said that in the previous year, LTT already predicted that a spike can be seen in the opportunistic, targeted attacks and to the bad luck of the industries, the point has been proved relevant by the hackers. He further said that these industries have done well in terms of maintaining important services in these hard times but the decline of cybersecurity standards comes out as a serious concern.

Kazu Yozawa concluded his statement by saying that as the services continue to switch to online modes and choose the path of digitalization as the new normal, they have to make sure that the best cybersecurity-related practices are being followed in their ecosystem.

About the Study

The Global Threat Intelligence Report or GTIR contains the data of global attacks that took place between the period of January 2020 to December 2020. The complete analysis is based on different elements including incident, log, event, attack, and vulnerability data from clients as from NTT’s global honeypot network. The reports also consist of data from supporting organizations like WhiteHat Security and NTT’s Cybersecurity Advisory.

GTIR 2021 HighLights

  • Cryptominers had a dominant presence over the Middle East, Europe, and Africa (EMEA), and the Americas but were rarely active in the Asia Pacific(APAC)
  • 50% of organizations are focusing on securing their cloud services at a high priority. This is going to be the top cybersecurity focus in the next 18 months
  • Attacks against the healthcare industry increased from 7% to 17%, manufacturing increased from 7% to 22%, and in the finance industry, increased from 15% to 23% in a year
  • Common forms of malware seen in 2020 were: Ransomware: 6%, Miners: 41%, Worms: 10%, and Trojans: 26%
  • OpenSSL emerged as the most targeted technology in the Americas but was unavailable in the top 10 list in Asia Pacific
  • Organizations in multiple industries sighted attacks based on the COVID-19 vaccine and associated supply chains
  • With groups like Ozie Team, TA505, Agent Tesla, and nation-state actors including Cozy Bear, Vicious Panda, and Mustang Panda, COVID-19 cybercriminal opportunism grew on a considerable scale
  • The Schrems II decision invalidated EU-US Privacy Shield and added obligations on organizations transferring personal data from the EU to third countries.