The “malware boom” of 2017 has shown no signs of stopping through the first half of 2018, according to a new report from security company SonicWall. The company’s Capture Labs threat researchers recorded 5.99 billion malware attacks during the first two quarters of the year. At the same point in 2017 SonicWall logged 2.97 billion malware attacks.

On a month-to-month basis in 2018, malware volume remained consistent in the first quarter before dropping to less than 1 billion per month across April, May, and June. These totals were still more than double that of 2017, the report said.

The study shows ransomware attacks surging in first six months of 2018, with 181.5 million ransomware attacks identified for the period. That marks a 229 percent increase over this same timeframe of 2017.

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The use of encryption continues to grow for legitimate traffic and malicious cyber attacks alike, SonicWall said. In 2017, it reported that 68 percent of sessions were encrypted by SSL/TLS standards. Through six months of 2018, 70 percent of sessions are leveraging encryption.

Cyber criminals are strategically following this trend to help prevent their malicious payloads from being discovered, according to the researchers.

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