Big Boost in Q4 Crimeware

Friday, May 8, 2015 @ 03:05 PM gHale

During the final quarter last year, there was a record number of crimeware variants detected and attackers employing the tried and true phishing strategy had an eye on retail and service sites, hoping to take advantage of the growth in online shoppers, according to a report from the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG).

During the fourth quarter the number of malware variants broke a new record, with 23,500,000 malware samples detected, which is an average of 255,000 new threats each day, according to PandaLabs. This was up 59 percent from 160,000 samples per day in the second quarter of 2014.

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Never in the history of computer security has the amount of new malware created been so high, said Luis Corrons, PandaLabs Technical Director. The great majority of these malware strains are variants of existing malware modified by their creators to evade antivirus software used by Internet consumers.

The escalating numbers illustrate the adaptability of the code and the creativity of the malware authors. About one-third of computers worldwide most likely ended up infected with malware of some sort, Corrons said.

Retail/Service was the most-targeted industry sector in the fourth quarter of 2014, representing 29.37 percent of phishing sites, not a great surprise during the holiday season. Payment Services continued to be popular targets, with 25.13 percent of attacks during the three-month period, according to Internet Identity.

There was also a multitude of email-based phishing attempts against well-established financial institutions, apparently timed to coincide with the holiday season and fears in the wake of corporate security breaches, according to the report.

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