Malwarebytes originally emerged in 2008 and became one of the splendid cybersecurity companies to follow. After carefully observing the growth of malware threats in 2016, the company used the collected data to compose an explicit Global State of Malware Report. Detailed descriptions of malware trends, their distribution, and other extremely important statistical material has created a clearer image of the cybersecurity in 2016. Despite the fact that 2017 kicked things off with powerful malware threats, security researchers are not falling behind and managing these threats one-by-one. For this article, let’s look at the findings of Malwarebytes and explore their generated report.
Ransomware leading the herd
Ransomware infections have been around for a while, but 2016 was indicated to be the year when it finally began to fully blossom. While many malware attacks require certain skills and their success is debatable, crypto-viruses certainly have a very closed plan and they are relatively uncomplicated to produce. Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) is an option than can be selected by people that have little knowledge about designing such infection. Malwarebytes suggests that approximately 400 different samples were released in the fourth quart of 2016 alone.
People from United States of America appear to be the ones that are mostly targeted by ransomware creators. In the second place, we have Germany. Third place goes to Italy, fourth to United Kingdom, fifth to France, sixth to Australia, seventh to Canada, and the last three places belong to Spain, India and Austria. If you are from any of these countries, be cautious. Also, three terrifying ransomware families were spotted: Cerber, Locky and TeslaCrypt. The latter one was extremely feared by all, right until that moment when hackers concluded their era and released a master key to decrypt every ruined file.
It is also indicated that various business companies that got infected with ransomware infections were from North America. And home-devices were mostly jeopardized in Europe.
Ad fraud: effective as ever
Right after ransomware viruses, we have ad fraud malware. Kovter malware family was indicated as one of the most sophisticated samples, managing to infect people without placing an executable in their devices. It was enough to slip in a new entry among Windows Registry Keys. Even though it was used as a tool to gain insight on users’ personally-identifiable data, in 2016, it started to be used to commit ad fraud. It basically means that infected people are exposed to various websites and click-on advertisements to generate as much web traffic as possible. Also, Kovter was noticed to be mostly distributed via drive-by exploits and exploit kits. Mostly targeted countries were: United States, Germany, Canada, France and Italy.
Botnets thrived in 2016
Strategy of Botnets does not fall far behind from ad fraud and ransomware with its sophisticated maneuvers. 2016 was the time for hackers to explore a new scheme: target IoT products (Internet-connected thermostats, home-security cameras) and include them into the botnet. Mirai was mentioned as a popular open-source malware, which took control over users’ devices. In Asia and Europe, experts noticed a growth in the amount of variants of botnet groups. Germany suffered from a 550% boost in botnet numbers.
These are the highlights of the Global State of Malware Report. If you wish to review the report yourself, you can find it in the link below. It also included a section with predictions about 2017, but we will take a look at these predictions in our next article. As for the details we summarized, you should clearly notice that hackers are going a little crazy and inventing new strategies to profit. We believe that cautious activity online will protect users from malware infections. Plus, it is also crucial to secure your system with reliable anti-malware tools.