Malware always evolves. As technology advances, cyber-criminals are becoming more sophisticated. How have we reacted to the rise in malware attacks?

Malwarebytes, a data protection company that creates software solutions for workstation endpoints worldwide, released the latest addition of their annual State of Malware Report, which showcases their research on the level of discovered malware threats, year over year (YoY).

neoRhino’s Security Awareness Team reads their reports every year as it is quite eye-opening at what information is being exposed and/or tampered with. We wanted to point out some key statistics from this year’s report that are the most crucial to know in today’s connected world.

  1. Overall global consumer malware threats are down 2% from 2018 but attacks on organizations rose by 13%. Out of over 50 million detected malware threats, business endpoint malware detection rose from 8.5 million to 9.6 million YoY. This shows how cyber-criminals are focusing more on businesses than consumers. The importance of not only having the proper tools on your workstation to protect yourself is vital, but also by keeping your workforce trained on spotting phishing attacks and other forms of social engineering.
  2. The three highest rising types of malware threats were HackTools (42%), Adware (13%), and Spyware (4%). HackTools, while not always for evil intentions, are programs that are downloaded in order to gain access to computers and networks – and could also be malware in disguise itself. This could prove why there was a dramatic increase in data breaches in 2019. An example of HackTools at play throughout 2019 would be MimiKatz, a password dumping tool that not only has been involved in recent attacks, but also were used in the spreading of NotPetya and the 2017 BadRabbit ransomware attack.
  3. While ransomware had an overall decrease YoY (-6%), adware became a major aggression point for both Windows and MacOS users. According to the report, a lower rate of WannaCry incidents may be the reason for the overall decline in ransomware attacks, however new strains of attacks from threats such as Ryuk and Sodinokibi rose tremendously. Adware becoming an increasing threat is worthy of added attention though, with a whopping 24 million adware detections on Windows devices and 30 million on MacOS devices. In 2019, adware topped the list as the highest detected form of malware for businesses.
  4. For the first time in history, overall prevalence of Apple MacOS malware threats rose over 400% YoY, with endpoint malware detections being nearly double that of Windows threats in the same year. Remember the adage of “I’m on a Mac; I don’t get viruses?” Now more than ever has that been disproven. Malware targets are shifting more to Mac users, so it may not incorrect to believe that there is a correlation in that cushy mentality and the increase in malicious activity. It’s not just about Apple’s increase in market share either. Malwarebytes reports that MacOS’ built-in security measures are not as focused on adware as they are on malware, which exposes more open doors for intruders to exploit. NewTab, a new trojan discovered in 2019, became MacOS’ largest malware threat, with 28 million detections found this past year.
  5. Out of the four major global regions, North America had the most endpoint malware detections (48%), followed by Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (26%), then Latin America (14%), and Asia Pacific (12%). North America has been a major focal point for cyber-attacks for years, and in 2019 suffered a 10% increase YoY, receiving over 24 million detected threats. However, Latin America had the largest growth at a 26% increase, suffering from 7.2 million detections.

Let’s not rule out the advancements that occurred in 2019 to prevent malware attacks. After the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) actions took place, several companies have put a greater focus on their data privacy than ever before.

Have you?

Protecting your data should be one of, if not your top priority. neoRhino’s Remote Managed Services package & Security Awareness Training program are ready to protect your workstations and educate your employees on preventing the ever-evolving threat of malware. We are at war with cyber-criminals for your data security. Let us keep you armored.

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“For Peace, You Must Prepare for War.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.