Cyber criminals increasingly deploying sophisticated malware as attack tools, warns report

BY Fraser Tennant

Cyber criminals across the globe are increasingly deploying sophisticated malware such as adware and ransomware to attack companies, warns a new report by Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.

In ‘Global Cyber Attack Trends 2017’, Check Point notes that the global cyber landscape in 2017 appears to have picked up where 2016 left off, with cyber threats emerging on a monthly basis that are increasingly sophisticated, featuring new capabilities and distribution methods.

Among the key trends identified in the report are: (i) nation-state cyber weapons are now in the hands of criminals; (ii) the line between adware and malware is fading, and mobile adware botnets are on the rise; (iii) macro-based downloaders continue to evolve; (iv) a new wave of mobile bankers has arrived on Google Play undetected to infect users; and (v) threat actors are continuing to sell new malware-as-a-service though several platforms, increasing the risk of data breaches.

Also highlighted in the report are today’s most prevalent examples of global malware and ransomware and the regions of the world which attackers target most often.

Acccording to the report: “2017 is shedding light on a new trend – simple, yet highly effective malware families are causing rapid destruction globally. The samples are distributed by unknown threat actors, yet wield high-end attack tools and techniques developed by elite nation-state actors. In addition, massive theft operations, such as the infamous Shadow Brokers leak of tools allegedly developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA), have led to some of the world’s most sophisticated malware ending up in the hands of unskilled attackers.”

Also analysed is the impact of the WannaCry and NotPetya ransomware which has affected public infrastructure as well as medical facilities around the world, with the report noting that many of these attacks could have been blocked had the proper security measures been in place.

“Even with WannaCry and NotPetya making global headlines, most organisations continue to rely on a strategy of detection and response after an attack has occurred as their primary means of defence,” continues the report. “Unfortunately, 99 percent of organisations still have not put in place the fundamental cyber security technologies available to prevent these types of attacks.”

To keep ahead of cyber threats, the report advises companies to stay alert and concludes: “To provide organisations with the best level of protection, security experts must be attuned to the ever-changing landscape and the latest threats and attack methods to keep their security posture at the highest standard.”

Report: Global Cyber Attack Trends 2017

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