Consumer threats down as cybercriminals target business

Malware

Consumer threats declined by three percent in 2018 as cybercriminals learned that businesses can deliver a much bigger payout.

The latest State of Malware report from Malwarebytes shows consumer threats decreased steadily across the board including a 30 percent drop in adware, an 84 percent decrease in hijacker tools, a 28 percent decrease in worm activity and a 29 percent drop in ransomware.

At the same time business threats increased by 79 percent as cybercriminals set their sights on the workforce. For example, Trojan threat detections increased by 132 percent. The report also saw riskware tools jump 126 percent, backdoor malware increase by 173 percent and spyware rise 142 percent. However, ransomware only climbed nine percent from the previous year, showing that this attack methodology is still taking a back seat to other more profitable attacks.

The US, Indonesia, UK, France and Malaysia made the top five list for the most business threat detections per country in 2018. Education, manufacturing and retail made the top three list for the most highly-targeted verticals in 2018. Education was plagued by Emotet and Trickbot, while manufacturing endured hits from WannaCrypt and Emotet and retail was still largely impacted by miners.

A large-scale flood of cryptocurrency miners was deployed between October 2017 and March 2018, but the fall in currency values has led to a decline in this type of attack.

"Emotet is the number one Trojan for 2018," says Adam Kujawa director of Malwarebytes Labs. "It can spread laterally using exploits, it can deploy a local spam module to send emails and try to further spread the malware, but it also downloads additional malware. We've also seen Trickbot which is more aggressive than Emotet. The ability these malware tools offer to infect an endpoint and branch out from there makes businesses a far juicier target than any consumer. The likelihood of paying a ransom is higher when it comes to businesses, especially smaller ones, too."

You can get the 2019 State of Malware report from the Malwarebytes website.

Image Credit: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

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