Malwarebytes, the malware prevention and remediation solution, has today released a report analysing the top malware threats for 2017.
The findings illustrate a significant shift in attack methodology, a distinct evolution in the predominant tools and a divergence in the types of business and consumer attacks. The report shows sharp increases in malware-based cybercrime, including ransomware, banking trojans, spyware, adware and cryptocurrency mining.
Following the heavily covered WannaCry attack, ransomware was identified as the tool of choice for cybercriminals in 2017. The ransom-based malware against consumers increased 93%, while ransomware against businesses is up 90%.
>See also: Held hostage: the rise of ransomware
The monthly rate of ransomware attacks increased up to 10 times the rate of 2016, with September 2017 having the largest volume of ransomware attacks against businesses ever documented.
In the UK, ransomware attacks peaked in May 2017 (with WannaCry). But, overall attacks have increased at an unprecedented pace and UK businesses / consumers are more likely to encounter ransomware as a percentage of attacks than in the US.
Between July and September 2017, there was a 700% increase in ransomware (according to Malwarebytes’ telemetry) with two families making up most of that statistic: GlobeImposter increased 341% from July to August 2017 and WannaCry surged 375% from August to September 2017. However, a drop in ransomware detections was highlighted towards the end of 2017.
Increase in the malicious use of crypto-miners
Alongside a sudden cryptocurrency craze, bad actors have started utilising crypto-mining tools for their own profit, using victim’s personal computers in the process. This includes a significant increase of miners through compromised websites, malicious spam, exploit kit drops and adware bundlers.
>See also: The ransomware business model
Malwarebytes blocked an average of 8 million drive-by mining attempts per day in September 2017.
Adware makers dwindle, but volume continues to increase
The volume of adware increased 132% year-over-year, making up 40% of consumer threat detections (up from less than 20% in 2016).
Adware is Malwarebytes second-most detected threat, despite fewer adware families in the mix. Most of the work is being done by a handful of active adware developers for Windows, macOS and Android.
Consumer threats are on the rise
The overall threat volume against consumers rose 12% in 2017, while worms and ransomware moved into Malwarebytes’ top 10 types of threats to consumers for 2017.
“The last year has certainly thrown us a few curveballs, with massive ransomware attacks, changes in malware distribution and the significant increase in cryptocurrency miners,” said Marcin Kleczynski, Malwarebytes CEO.
“With 2018 just getting started, these findings can help pave the way for increased awareness, c-level participation, and enhanced technologies to better protect both consumers and businesses.”