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Online malware more than doubled during 2014

Internet-based malware more than doubled during 2014, according to a new report by cyber security firm CYREN Security Lab.

In its annual Cyberthreat Yearbook, the company revealed that it had seen a 159 per cent increase in malware URLs throughout the calendar year when compared with the previous twelve months.

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The report, which looks at 17 billion online transactions and monitors more than 600 million users, also found that that there was a 50 per cent increase in the number of emails containing malware, up from 1.69 billion to 2.5 billion.

The findings also revealed the state of spam messaging during 2014. CYREN found that 42.34 per cent of all spam was pharmacy related, but there was a 30 per cent reduction in the average amount of spam received each day.

The company’s chief technology officer Lior Kohavi explained that malware comes in many diverse forms and can be found on a mass scale.

"In December, CYREN observed its largest email attached malware outbreak for the year, with 10.7 billion emails sent on the 18th of the month, followed by another 10.7 billion malware-embedded emails on the 23rd,” he said.

"In the first and second quarters of 2014, CYREN began to observe macro-malware belonging to the Trojan families of Zbot and Dridex. Then in early November, CYREN observed an outbreak of over 3.02 billion emails containing advanced second generation macro-malware."

CYREN also issued a warning that many businesses are not prepared for the potential security threats of the future. The Internet of Things (IoT), in particular, was singled out by the company as posing a major risk to businesses across a wide variety of sectors. While connected devices offer firms a number of benefits, they can also introduce new vulnerabilities.

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The entirety of the CYREN cyber security report is available for download here.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.