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Q3 cyber attacks targeted government organisations as malware spreads

PandaLabs, the malware research arm of Panda Security (opens in new tab) has released its latest quarterly security report revealing a wave of cyberattacks where the security and information of various governments has been compromised.

The company has detected a growing interest between countries in compromising the security and information of different governments. With that in mind, one of the most important attacks during this period was against the Hacking Team, which controls a multitude of cyberespionage and cyberattack tools for various governments around the world.

"This case is particularly worrying, as they have managed to decrypt the passwords of the most protected of systems," says Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs. "The criminals not only wanted to know which clients used the cyberespionage services, which includes intelligence agencies and governments, but also which products they were using."

Q3's attacks have also seen the Pentagon's unclassified email system compromised. This was done via a sophisticated attack which has the hallmarks of having a government behind it. What's more, the FBI has confirmed that it has detected a growth in interest among terrorists in strategies for launching cyber terrorist attacks against the US, which appear to be in their planning stages.

Outside of attacks on governments the world of malware continues to blossom. Although this time of the year usually sees a drop in new malware samples, this year PandaLabs has seen 21 million new threats, which is an average of 230,000 per day.

Trojans continue to be the most common form of malware accounting for 69.15 per cent, and cause the most infections (77.64 per cent). They are trailed by traditional viruses on 11.34 per cent, and Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs), at 7.96 per cent.

"Infecting a device that is connected to the internet with a Trojan is as easy as hiding it in a file that the victim downloads," adds Luis Corrons. "From then on, all of the information on the device, the organisations information, or user passwords are at risk".

The complete report (opens in new tab) with information on infection rates for different countries and more is available on the Panda website.

Photo credit: Tashatuvango (opens in new tab)/Shutterstock (opens in new tab)

Ian Barker worked in information technology before discovering that writing about computers was easier than fixing them. He has worked for a staff writer on a range of computer magazines including PC Extreme, was editor of PC Utilities, and has written for TechRadar, BetaNews, IT Pro Portal, and LatestGadgets.