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Article · Nov 25, 2019

Businesses beware: Watch out for these recent malware trends

Cybercriminals are not just honing their attack techniques, they are also conducting more reconnaissance before launching malware attacks.

Simply put, it means threat actors are extensively researching their targets – both systems and people -- to help determine the most effective attack methodology and the most profitable target.

For example, attackers breaching an endpoint device that is connected to a wider network of critical infrastructure might decide to launch a ransomware attack to encrypt business-critical systems and extort money from their victims. Whereas, if they detect systems with excellent speed and processing power, they might launch an attack to use those systems to mine cryptocurrency.

And that’s just one of the recent malware trends uncovered by a Webroot™ report.

The report titled Webroot’s 2019 Threat Report Mid-Year Update does a deep dive on the current threat trends – including recent malware trends -- based on data collected within the Webroot Platform and as seen by the Webroot Threat Research team.

With malware evolving at a rapid pace and new strains being discovered every second, almost all malware being delivered today is unique. The malware you saw yesterday, won’t look the same today. Webroot found 95% of malware is now unique to a single PC, up from 92% last year.

And that’s driving the need for investing in AI-based solutions for detecting modern evasive malware.

Some recent malware trends to be cognizant of

Short for malicious software, malware is software developed by threat actors to gain access to sensitive information. And as they increasingly target businesses that cannot afford to shut down or don’t have proper backups in place, here are the top three recent malware trends to be aware of:

  • Malware attacking older Windows 7 systems has risen 71%. Malicious actors are targeting older operating systems in the hopes of exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities. Computers using Windows 7 operating systems are twice as likely to be infected compared to their Windows 10 counterparts. Keeping your systems up-to-date and implementing effective patch management are critical.
  • 76% of all malware hides in one of three places on a Windows system: 41% on temp, 24% on appdata and 11% on cache. Creating Windows policies to prevent execution from temp and cache is an effective way to prevent threats from infecting endpoint devices.
  • Home user PCs are twice as likely to be infected as business PCs. While corporate devices are fortified by business firewalls, home users may be a bit more lax about securing their devices. They also exercise more caution when browsing the web on their work devices.

Implementing effective endpoint protection and backups

Malware can cripple your business, no matter your organizational size. And with the endpoint often being the point of infection in an organization, implementing advanced endpoint protection is key.

But with traditional signature-based technologies failing to detect modern-day malware, businesses should start implementing advanced cloud-based endpoint security solutions that leverage AI and machine learning to continuously monitor and adapt endpoint threat detection, protection and prevention.

As you continue to leverage advanced cybersecurity solutions, remember to invest in an effective cloud backup solution to help minimize the damage in the event of an attack.


Mekhala Roy

Mekhala Roy is a writer on the Corporate Marketing team at Carbonite. A former journalist, she blogs about Carbonite happenings and cybersecurity.

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