Evolving malware variants contribute to rising cyberattacks

Attacks on critical infrastructure using evolved malware dominated the threat landscape in 2019

Evolving malware variants contribute to rising cyberattacks - CIO&Leader

New evolving variants of malware are contributing significantly to cyberattacks globally. Attacks on critical infrastructure using evolved malware dominated the threat landscape in 2019, according to Subex’s annual Threat Landscape Report 2019. The report highlights rising malware complexity and sophistication, increasing reconnaissance capabilities of hackers, and increasing attacks on common IoT devices and critical infrastructure as areas of concern needing immediate intervention.

The report, prepared using threat intelligence gathered from Subex’s global honeypot network now operational in 62 cities globally, has presented key global trends that have the most significant implications for enterprises, governments, citizens, and other stakeholders.

New York, New Delhi, Atlanta, London, and Kyiv are among the most attacked cities globally. 2019 saw the large-scale introduction of new malware coinciding with geopolitical events in South Asia, the Middle East, and North America.  The expansion of bot networks into new geographies has also contributed to the growth in cyberattacks globally. Attacks across classes grew significantly, with crypto mining attacks registering an 8% increase over 2018.

The report also found differences in patterns of attacks registered in certain regions and countries. For instance, in the USA, there were differences in industries targeted by hackers on the East Coast and the West coast. Middle East region was a hotbed of reconnaissance activity while India registered a whopping 34% increase in inbound cyber attacks over 2018. India accounted for as much as 3% of all new malware detected, and the country also registered the presence of many variants of common malware such as Mirai. A significant proportion of these variants were not detected anywhere else. 

Some of the key trends observed in 2019 are:

  • Revenue leakage attributable to cyberattacks remain a source of concern
  • Surveillance cameras remain the most attacked category of devices
  • Most attacked regions – NA, South Asia, and the Middle East
  • Malware prices have registered a significant increase in H2 2019
  • Ransomware is the most common category of malware detected
  • Global increase in reconnaissance (listening) attacks on critical infrastructure
  • Significant increase in outbound attacks from China targeting India
  • Ukraine, Slovenia, and India reported many variants of common malware
  • Increase in the detection of malware engineered in academic/ other sophisticated labs

“Our continuing efforts to monitor the global threat environment and the results it has yielded has led us to believe that hackers, malware developers and other entities are ramping up their efforts to monitor, break into, steal data from and disrupt the operations of a range of businesses and institutions. These findings should be seen in the larger context of the evolving threat environment that surrounds Information Technology, Operational Tech, and Internet of Things deployments and infrastructure. We hope this report helps cybersecurity decision-makers and stakeholders to take appropriate decisions and interventions,” said Vinod Kumar, Managing Director & CEO, Subex.

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