New malware count falls in 2015 as cybercriminals look after the pennies

In 2015, the number of users attacked by cybercriminals increased by 5 per cent despite a fall in new malware files detected within the year, according to findings by Kaspersky Lab.

The security firm said that demand for new malicious programs reached saturation point as the number of new malware files detected every day by Kaspersky Lab products fell to 310,000 from 325,000 in 2014.

The firm's experts believe this is highly attributable to the fact that coding new malware is expensive. Even cybercriminals have undergone cost-cutting measures as they realised that they can get the same outcome through intrusive advertising programs or legitimate digital signatures in their attacks. This has resulted in the increase in attacks.

Cybercriminals have found that complex coding tools such as rootkits, bootkits or replicating viruses, bring results but reduce their overall margins and revenue, and is not being protected by antivirus software.

Thus, from 200,000 new files every day in 2012 and 315,000 in 2013, there had only been a 10,000 increase in malware in 2014 on a daily average. In 2015 the overall number declined from 325,000 to 310,000 year-on-year.

In 2015, Kaspersky Lab said that it has seen an evolution in cybercriminal tactics where adware, essentially harmless but often intrusive, become more prominent among overall anti-virus detections. Cybercriminals are also now acting almost as businesses, engaged in selling quasi-legitimate commercial software, activity and other "essentials".

Cybercriminals and even advanced, state-sponsored threat actors make greater use of legal certificates for digital products through bought or stolen certificates. Attackers deceive security software - costing only a few pounds - that trusts an officially-signed file more than a regular one.

"The commercial malware market has settled, and is evolving towards simplification. I think will we no longer see malicious "code for the code." This trend is also observed among the operators of targeted attacks," Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky, Head of Anti-Malware Team at Kaspersky Lab said.

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