More than 2,500 pieces of unique ransomware have been discovered in the past year alone, meaning UK businesses face the prospect of 38 new attacks emerging every single day.

This was the alarming discovery from the 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, released in early March.

Though the number of ransomware attacks actually dropped (from 645 million to 184 million between 2016 and 2017), it was the volume of unique attacks which caused concern – rising by 101% year-on-year. This not only means there are more variants in existence now, but that they’re more dangerous and tougher to spot. What’s more, the total number of malware attacks (i.e. not just ransomware) increased from 7.87 billion in 2016 to 9.32 billion in 2017.

Despite these worrying statistics, SonicWall identified reasons to be optimistic, too. It claimed that widespread dropping of Adobe Flash support made browsers safer from black market exploit kits than they were back in 2016. Furthermore, that 24% of web traffic is now encrypted is said to have prevented a great many more cyber attacks than could have otherwise been possible. All this, combined with more concerted efforts by law enforcement around the world, has stymied many cybercrime networks.

These positives don’t mean businesses can rest easy, though. Looking ahead, SonicWall identified more ways than ever for cyber criminals to gain access to private data, with the internet of things being identified as a ‘key battleground’. Here, it was claimed, malware could hide via encryption and not look or act in the explicit ways we see malware today. “These areas,” the report argues, “are grossly overlooked and unsecured, and present a window of opportunity for successful cyberattacks.”

Concluding, the report explained how the best cybersecurity strategies are “layered, automatic and dynamic.”

It said: “Security-conscious organisations will deploy a cohesive mix of devices and controls to serve as the fabric of their security posture. This includes next-generation firewalls, email security solutions, real-time cloud sandboxing, secure mobile access controls and wireless access points.”