December 2015 was King of Malware

American email and web security firm AppRiver has released its end-of-the-year report, where it showcased a detailed analysis of malware and spam trends in the last year.

The report, entitled Global Security Report, says that the number of malware messages doubled, year-on-year. From January to November, AppRiver quarantined 944 million messages, and in December alone, another 705 million.

The security firm also said its spam filters stopped 26 million spam messages last year.

AppRiver says 2015 was a busy year, with attacks on Anthem, Premera, LastPass, Ashley Madison and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) grabbing the limelight. The OPM breach alone saw the data of 18 million of current and former government employees compromised.

In terms of the types of attacks which were most prevalent in the past year, AppRiver singles out malware, macros, ransomware, wire transfer fraud and Javascript obfuscation.

“The Protecting Cyber Networks and National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Acts will incentivize companies to share cyber threat information with U.S. government agencies,” says co-author and manager of security research, Troy Gill. “The goal is to prevent future attacks by sharing threat intelligence through joint efforts of government agencies and companies.”

Report co-author, Jon French, adds, “This year featured personal attacks on consumers, as cybercriminals favored personal data, such as health insurance records, online dating profiles, and HR files over financial information, such as credit card accounts and routing numbers. Cybercriminals are likely using this information to form detailed consumer profiles on the Dark Web for future attacks, like spear phishing and blackmail.”