Europe recorded a 63% surge in ransomware attacks in the first half of this year, in contrast to the general downward global trend that saw incidents fall 23% against a record-breaking 2021, according to ransomware threat intelligence firm SonicWall.\r\n\r\nSonicWall said the conflict in Ukraine has centred the cyber battleground on Europe and away from other regions. Seven of the top 11 countries around the world targeted by ransomware in H1 were in Europe. These were the UK, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Ukraine.\r\n\r\nIn a mid-year update to its Cyber Threat Report, SonicWall said it has seen a \u201cgeographically-driven shift in ransomware volume as geopolitical strife impacts cybercriminal activity\u201d.\r\n\r\nSonicWall president and CEO Bill Conner said: \u201cIn the cyber arms race, cybersecurity and geopolitics have always been inseparably linked, and in the last six months we have seen that play out across the cyber landscape.\u201d\r\n\r\nJune recorded the lowest number of ransomware attempts globally in two years, according to SonicWall, but it added that global ransomware volumes at the half-year point still exceed full-year 2019.\r\n\r\nAt the same time, global malware attacks have rebounded in H1 and were up 11% to 2.8 billion. SonicWall said this marks the first escalation of global malware volumes in more than three years. Malware attacks across Europe were up 29%, although down by 9% in the UK and 11% lower in Germany. Asia was the main driver of the global uptick in malware attacks with a 32% increase in the region.\r\n\r\nConner said the general global downward trend in ransomware volumes is unlikely to continue for much longer. \u201cAs bad actors diversify their tactics and look to expand their attack vectors, we expect global ransomware volume to climb \u2013 not only in the next six months but in the years to come,\u201d he warned.\r\n\r\n\u201cWith so much turmoil in the geopolitical landscape, cybercrime is increasingly becoming more sophisticated and varying in the threats, tools, targets and locations,\u201d Conner added.\r\n\r\nSome sectors are bucking the global downward ransomware trend, SonicWall said, with the financial sector recording a 243% spike in attacks and a 100% increase in malware attacks. The financial sector also recorded a 269% jump in cryptojacking attempts.\r\n\r\nSonicWall also detected a 77% jump in internet of things (IoT) malware across all sectors and a 132% rise in encrypted threats during the first half of 2022, with a 45% increase in new malware variants.\r\n\r\n\u201cWith major increases in encrypted threats, IoT malware, cryptojacking and new unknown variants, it\u2019s critical that cybersecurity leaders have all the required tools and technology to proactively detect and remediate against increasingly sophisticated and targeted threats to their business,\u201d Conner said.